chocolate & coffee birthday cake

chocolate & coffee birthday cake



chocolate sponge cake

5 eggs
150 g sugar
150 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150 g butter

melt the butter and set aside
separate the eggs carefully
whisk the egg whites until they start to get foamy, then keep whisking adding sugar 2-3 tbsp at a time until the meringue is stiff and glossy
in a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks until they are pale and fluffy, add to the meringue and mix with a spatula
sift the flour and baking poweder, add to the eggs and mix together delicately
add the butter and mix in until well incorporated (do not worry when the mixture loses volume)
pour into a parchment-lined 22cm/9” cake pan
bake for about 40 min in 180C, allow to cool before removing from the pan and slicing into 3 layers


soaking syrup
100 ml strong coffee
100 g sugar

bring to boil, mix until sugar dissolves and then for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has a slightly thick syrupy texture, set aside


coffee Italian meringue buttercream 
250 ml strong coffee
250 g sugar
5 egg whites
250 g butter

reduce the coffee to roughly a quarter of its volume
cook the sugar and coffee reduction on medium heat until it turns into syrup and reaches 118C and the instantly remove from heat, the best way to check is with candy thermometer, you can also do it via cold water test (explained here https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html) – while the syrup bubbles, starts whisking the egg whites into soft foam
pour hot syrup slowly into the egg whites while they are mixing on high speed – the syrup ‘cooks’ the eggs so the meringue should turn firmer and thicker
after all the syrup has been added, whisk the meringue for another 5-10 minutes until it’s really thick and completely stable (no foamy liquid structure)
allow to cool down, in the meantime beat the butter until fluffy
add the meringue into the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and mix very well each time – the buttercream must be smooth and thick at the end, it will have a brownish colour (in Poland we call this colour “coffee with milk”)

note: if you don’t trust your sugar skills, you can make Swiss meringue buttercream (like here) and simply add granulated coffee dissolved in minimal amount of water or milk – to taste, I never use such coffee so I cannot say how much would be needed


caramel
200 g sugar 
50 ml heavy cream

caramelize the sugar cooking it on medium-low heat in a heavy bottom pan, making sure the sugar covers the bottom of the pan only minimally and doesn’t create a heap – use quite a big pan and one of the larger burners of your stove
when the sugar turns its colour to brown and smells a little bit burnt add the cream – careful not to burn yourself – and mix well with a spatula
allow to cool down a little 

decoration
chocolate swirls/laces
strawberries 
flaked almonds


assembly
take a layer of the cake, soak with 1/3 of the syrup, spread a thin layer of 1/5 of the buttercream, and repeat twice
when the cake is put together, ice the top and the sides roughly, it doesn’t need to be perfect, simply try to cover the dark brown cake with a thin layer of buttercream, and use the leftover to do some decorative piping at the top
pour the caramel (barely warm) along the buttercream decoration, allowing it to run down the sides of the cake nicely
decorate the top with chocolate, halved strawberries, and chocolate bits
keep refrigerated but leave in room temperature for half an hour before serving

3 comments: