Wednesday 1 May 2013

Coffee cake

Its been quite quiet in the 365things kitchen this month. Me n Hubs were in Ireland over Easter for a bit of a holidays, and since then, I’ve been on a health kick. I’ve pared things back a lot and cooking a lot simpler and healthier, so things like grilled lean meat such as turkey and chicken breast or fish roasted in a little oil and lots of herbs and spices. These are accompanied by boiled or steamed veggies. Its also a good opportunity to finish up the ends of packets, so couscous, quinoa and brown rice are served alongside. I’ve made a couple of yummy breakfast smoothies using (for 2 people) a low-fat yogurt, one banana, one cup of frozen berries, a glug of milk, a shake of cinnamon and two dessert spoonful’s of muesli. I sometimes add a good dessertspoon of almond paste if I feel like it. These are blasted in the blender for one minute and slugged. If it is a bit thick, add a little more milk. Lunch is a massive salad with lettuce and/or spinach leaves, tomatoes, a little bit of blue cheese or lean protein (turkey slices, tinned fish without oil) or substantial soup made with beans and lentils. I’ve been doing this for a little over a week, and I’m already down two kilos*.

But still, it’s the weekend, and weekend = little treat. While we were in Ireland we went to a gorgeous little coffee shop in Galway city called Cupan Tae (it’s Irish for ‘cup of tea'). The shop is a mishmash of china cups, chintz curtains, lace tablecloths and general kitchness. They serve sandwiches and divine homemade cakes. I tried the coffee cake, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. So, I tried the BBC Good Food/Angela Nilsen Ultimate Makeover coffee cake this weekend.

Half-iced coffee cake
The original recipe is here, and this is my version. It’s not as low in fat as the BBC version, as there are some things I don’t like, such as oil in cakes, but I’ve indicated all changes. I didn’t put any walnuts into the cake itself as my SD is allergic to them. Overall, it’s very light and tasty cake.

2 dessertspoons of coffee (made coffee, not granules!)
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds, as this is all I had in the cupboard
85g light muscovado sugar
50g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g 0% fromage frais
75ml melted butter

2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 dessertspoons of coffee
250g mascarpone
lots of icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Walnut halves

Heat your oven to 180°C and grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Mix the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and both sugars into a large mixing bowl. Make a dip in the centre and stir in the eggs, fromage frais, melted butter and the coffee with a wooden spoon so everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top to level it, then bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the tin briefly, then turn it out and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely while you make the icing.

Put the caster sugar and coffee into a small, heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, raise the heat, then boil at a fast rolling boil for about 2½-3 mins until thickened and syrupy. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool. When cold it should be the consistency of treacle.

Beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then stir in the cold coffee syrup. It said in the recipe that you need a tablespoon of icing sugar, but the icing was very runny, so I just kept adding spoonfuls until it thickened up. I’ve no idea how much I used in the end.

Split the cake into 2, then sandwich back together with the filling. Spread the icing over the top, scatter over the chopped walnuts and leave to set.

As the sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed, I only iced half the cake. Hubs isn’t as fond of the sweet stuff as I am, so decorating like this means we can both enjoy it. #compromise.

'light' coffee cake

* I'm neither a doctor nor a nutritionist, so please seek the advice of a doctor before going on any diet. Also, I'd lost the 2 kilos before eating the entire cake (with Hubs) over the weekend. The 2 kilos lost has become 1 kilo lost ;-)

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