This was not the cake I'd planned to make for my sister's birthday. I had something prettily decorated in mind instead; some flowers, some lace.
But time ran away from me. So I baked something simpler instead.
Like it's simple for me to whip up a batch of macarons. Sure!
But I suddenly got a bee in my bonnet about decorating this coffee and walnut cake with coffee macarons (darn bees! darn bonnets! darn macarons!). And with a bowl of aged egg whites sitting in the fridge, I couldn't find an excuse not to give them a bash. (Macarons and I have relationship issues.)
Anyway, they turned out ok. And as always, even if they don't look perfect, macarons taste great.
So did the rest of the cake, actually!
Coffee and Walnut Cake
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create
Preheat the oven to 180'C
Grease and line 3x 8inch cake pans
(I used 4 x 7 inch cake pans, because I prefer slightly taller, smaller diameter cakes)
360g cake flour
400g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 4 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
220g butter, cut into cubes, at room temp.
10ml instant coffee granules, dissolved in 15ml boiling water (use good quality, freeze dried coffee granules)
2 tsp vanilla extract
175g walnuts, finely chopped
Sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the paddle attachment on low speed to mix the ingredients together.
Add the butter to the mixer, and beat on low speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in 250ml of the buttermilk.
Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 - 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
While this is mixing, in another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and remainder of the buttermilk together.
Add this to the beater in 3 batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions.
Mix in the dissolved coffee and vanilla.
Beat until just incorporated.
Fold in the walnuts.
Divide the batter equally between the 3 cake pans.
Bake at 180'C for approximately 30 - 35min, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Allow the cake layers to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream
200g caster sugar
5 egg whites
250-300g butter, at room temp cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
15ml instant coffee granules (freeze dried ) dissolved in 20ml boiling water.
Dissolve coffee granules in boiling water. Allow to cool.
Put the egg whites and sugar into a mixing bowl, and place that over a suitable saucepan of simmering water.
The bottom of the mixing bowl must not be in contact with the water.
Whisk constantly, until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.
Move off the stove, and to the mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip until it forms a thick and glossy meringue.
When the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch, change over to the paddle attachment, and add the butter one cube at a time, beating on low-medium speed. Keep adding butter until it reaches a pipe-able consistency.
(It may curdle, but just keep whipping until it reaches a satiny smooth consistency and holds its shape.)
Add the vanilla extract and coffee; beat well to incorporate.
Spread between the cooled cake layers, and over the surface of the cake.
And despite my shaky relationship with macarons, I'll be posting the recipe for these coffee flavoured ones soon.