Thursday 23 January 2014

Chocolate and coffee bean cake

Chocolate and coffee bean cake
I hate coffee. I hate everything about it. The taste, of course, is vile. It smells awful and is overpowering. Then there are the caffeine addicts needing to get their hits to get through the day and don't even get me started on the coffee snobs with their flat whites and expressos. My Nan used to say that I would grow to like the taste of coffee but I never did. My Nan also used to say at times, “You can't do anything with Vanessa...” - note the full naming.

I like tea. You can't go wrong with a cup of tea. There may be many varieties of tea from black to green to fruit and herbal but if someone offers you a cup of tea you know exactly what you are getting. So with all of that off my chest what on earth am I doing making a cake with coffee in? Well, for our Christmas Clandestine Cake Club meeting we had a secret Santa and part of my gift was a pot of chocolate coffee beans.
The rest of my secret Santa present was lovely and very generous to boot but what the heck was I going to do with these? I did think at first they were coffee beans covered in chocolate but they are in fact chocolate pieces shaped like coffee beans with coffee flavouring. Anyway, as someone who loathes throwing any food away I had to come up with a way to shift the Voldemort of ingredients out of my kitchen cupboard. As with most cooking dilemmas I decided the best option was the most obvious – bake it in a cake! Mr JibberJabber has been waiting for over 16 years for me to make him a coffee and walnut cake but he is going to have to wait a bit longer as I decided to mix it with some chocolate to try and mask the taste. The chocolate does indeed hide the coffee taste in the actual cake but in the buttercream it is definitely there! For the coffee beans I arranged them around the top on an individual nest of buttercream. I can't tell you what the beans taste like as I declined to sample one! The coffee I used was a sachet of instant coffee liberated from hotel room drinks tray. I took it in case anybody comes round and wants me to make them a cup of coffee. So far nobody has but then security at JibberJabber Towers is very tight!

You will notice that this cake is baked in two 6in (15cm) sandwich tins. Mr JibberJabber bought me these for Christmas and I thought this was an excellent opportunity to use them. They are also smaller than usual sandwich tins but this was a deliberate choice in case the cake was so heavily coffee flavoured that Mr JibberJabber would have been left to devour a whole cake!

As this is a new ingredient to me I am putting it forward for this month's We Should Cocoa hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and this month's guest host Linzi at Lancashire Food. Linzi has chosen New Year, New Ingredient for this month's theme.

I am also sending this to Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Jane at The Hedgecombers for this month's Tea Time Treats. Jane's choice of ingredient for this month is eggs, which this recipe contains two, and we did have this for our Sunday tea.
Tea Time Treats Challenge Logo
Equipment: 2 x 6in (15cm) sandwich tins, electric whisk/beaters


3oz (85g) Self raising flour
1oz (25g) Cocoa
1½ (7.5ml) Baking power
4oz (110g) Unsalted butter, softened or baking spread
4oz (110g) Caster sugar
2 Large eggs
2 tsp (10ml) Boiling water mixed with ¾ tsp (3.75ml) instant coffee


2oz (55g) Unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp (5ml) Boiling water mixed with 1tsp (5ml) instant coffee
1 tbsp (15ml) Cocoa
3oz (85g) Icing sugar


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Grease and line the sandwich tins.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and then put to one side.
4. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time and then the coffee. Beat again.
6. Fold in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
7. Spoon equal amounts into the sandwich tins and then bake for 20 minutes until the top is cooked but still slightly springy.
8. Leave in the tins for a few minutes and then turn out and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
9. While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream.
10. Cream the butter and then add the cocoa, coffee and icing sugar.
11. Leave to chill in the fridge while the cakes are cooling.
12. When the cakes have cooled pipe around the top and put a coffee bean on top of each one.
13. Smooth the rest of the buttercream on the bottom cake and then put the top layer on.


  1. Haha Ness, I'm with you on the coffee haters bench, although I am now coming around to it in cake form - slowly! It does look very nice and I'm sure Mr JJ thoroughly enjoyed it. How organised to have a secret santa and how nice too. Thanks for submitting this to WSC.

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! We've done a secret Santa for the last two years and it's worked really well. On the original details it's mentioned and we have a £5 limit. There's no pressure to join in but I think everybody enjoys it.

  2. I want I want, one of my favourite combinations, I find them very moreish. Thanks for taking part in We should cocoa

    1. I've got plenty more of the chocolate coffee beans left so I may have to lob them over the Pennines to you!

  3. Hehe, 'the Voldemort of ingredients' had me chuckling :)
    I have to say I think your cake looks, and sound lovely. But that's coming from a worshipper of the humble bean, although these days I only have a coffee if I'm out as I can't be trusted if I have good coffee in the house :)
    Janie x
    PS thanks for linking up to my first ever Tea Time Treats!

  4. I do enjoy my coffee but being an ardent Harry Potter fan, You had me at " Voldemort of Ingredients". Chocolate and Coffee are my two favorites and the cake looks absolutely yummylicious.


I appreciate your comments. If you have any tips, tricks or tweaks please pass them on!