Friday, 16 April 2010

Coffee and Pecan Marble Cake

It's so hard trying to think of new flavours that the Chief Tester will like - he was a fussy child, and is still quite fussy compared to his parents and sister. He doesn't like a lot of fresh fruit, either raw, cooked into cakes or as hot desserts such as crumbles and pies. He's just starting (at almost 30 years old!) to accept apples and pears baked into cakes and spongy desserts. He doesn't like dried fruit in huge quantities, although dates in sticky toffee pudding are OK because they are practically a purée, and I can get away with a little dried fruit in things like cookies which also have lots of chocolate and nuts in them.

He likes spices, chocolate, coffee, nuts and citrus flavours (although not the whole fruits). Normally this wouldn't matter too much - I'd bake something he liked, and something different for us - but as we are watching our waistlines expand, I'm trying not to bake anything that he won't eat too.

This marble cake was thought up as a change from chocolate, mainly for us - I don't think it would bother the Chief Tester if all cakes contained chocolate! I used my standard Madeira cake mixture, and baked it in a 25cm ring tin, although the batter would have been just as happy in a smaller tin. I just wanted to try the tin again, as the first time I used it, I broke the cake getting it out of the tin. That's why the slice of cake in the photo looks a peculiar proportion - it is too shallow, as the tin really needs more batter.

225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g SR flour
milk, as necessary (about 5 tablespoons, perhaps)
50g finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons instant coffee, dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (to deepen the colour - black treacle or molasses would work as well)
Coffee Glacé Icing:
75-100g icing sugar made into a smooth paste with a heaped teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water, plus more water as necessary.

Preheat the oven to 170C, and prepare a tin as usual. (I just greased this ring tin, as it seemed very non-stick the first time I used it.)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly beat in the eggs, one by one, with a little of the weighed flour to prevent curdling. Add the vanilla extract with the first egg.

Fold in the flour, with enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.

Divide the batter into equal halves, and fold the nuts, spices, coffee and molasses into one half, mixing until evenly blended.

Evenly spread half the plain batter into the base of the prepared tin. Using half the coffee batter and the rest of the plain batter place alternate blobs of mixture round the ring. Use the back of a spoon to squidge down the blobs to make a fairly even layer, then spread the remaining coffee batter on top.

Insert something like a chopstick or teaspoon handle into the batter, not quite to the base, and drag it twice around the circle, making the rings a few centimetres apart, to marble the batter a little.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (A cake baked in a smaller, or a round tin, rather than a ring, might take a little longer.)

Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, then carefully remove onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

When completely cold, decorate as liked with the coffee glacé icing. (I spooned the icing into a small freezer bag, and snipped off a corner to give a simple piping bag, which gives a more controllable drizzle when using glacé icing)

This is a moist, close-textured cake. The molasses and spices added subtle hints of flavour without overwhelming the main coffee and pecan flavours.


Suelle said...

Choclette - if you come back to this post - I allowed your comment to be published, along with those on other posts, but this one seems to have disappeared into the ether. Sorry. Thanks anyway!

Suelle said...

Oh no it hasn't!

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Suelle, I agree with Choclette, you are indeed the queen of marbling! Question is - did your Chief Fusspot Tester enjoy the cake? :D (I have one too, so I can empathise)

Suelle said...

He did, Celia, but it wasn't enthused over, as a gooey chocolate brownie would have been! :D

Anonymous said...

I will come and help eat that cake if the CFT isn't interested. It looks fab Suelle!

Stephanie said...

the photo of the whole cake is great! love the way you drizzled the glaze.

Suelle said...

Thanks Stephanie - the glaze was cheating really, as I was following the edges of the shapes on the base of the ring mould. Not as skilled a job as it looks!