S2, Ep 10: A Snake in the House
Gillian’s Coffee and Pecan Cake
I don’t know why I don’t make this cake more often. Perhaps it’s because I’m a tea drinker who has the occasional cup of coffee out with friends. But when I do, I’m reminded how absolutely delicious it is and I have resolved to bring it into the limelight. So here you are. Try it. It’s a winner.
(I chose pecans because Annabelle lives on a pecan farm, they are delicious and I had them in abundance. Traditionally it’s made with walnuts. Do as you please. It’s equally good without nuts.)
YOU WILL NEED:
4 large eggs
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
2 cups (300g) plain flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder OR 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (110g) nuts (optional) - for decorative purposes or you can chop them up and mix them through your cake. Whatever your heart desires.
1 cup (250ml) milk + 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules OR 1 cup (250ml) of espresso coffee you have left over in your pot.
125g butter (softened)
COFFEE BUTTER CREAM:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pure icing sugar or icing sugar mixture, sifted. Add as much of this as you like to suit your own taste.
½ cup (125ml) milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules. (It really does make the best coffee icing)
WHAT TO DO:
Preheat oven to 175°C. Prepare two 20cm sandwich or sponge cake pans; line bases with baking paper.
Beat the eggs in a bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale and creamy. With the motor operating, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes. The mixture is ready when it forms “ribbons”. To test, turn the mixer off and lift the beaters; the mixture should form a ribbon or trail across the surface for a moment before it sinks.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove until the butter is just melted. Stir in the coffee until the coffee dissolves (or just heat your pre-made espresso leftover coffee with the butter).
Fold flour mixture through egg mixture, then gently fold in coffee mixture. Divide the mixture between the prepared pans. Place the pans side by side on the centre shelf of the oven.
Bake cakes for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto a wire rack to cool.
COFFEE BUTTER CREAM
Beat butter and vanilla in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Decrease speed and gradually add half of the icing sugar until combined. Heat the milk to lukewarm, add coffee, stir until dissolved. Allow to cool. Beat the coffee mixture into butter mixture alternately with remaining sugar until icing is smooth.
Fill or ice your cake, as you wish. G x