'Coffee and raspberry?', I hear you (or imagine hearing you) say? Yes: raspberry and coffee go very well together.
If you think about it, coffee is very similar to chocolate in its flavour; if one were to draw a comparison, one could say that coffee is the more acrid and sharp version and chocolate is the warmer, richer version of the same taste. So, basically anything that goes well with chocolate tends to pair with coffee, too (with a few exceptions, of course).
Coffee and mint, coffee and vanilla, coffee and hazelnut, coffee and orange, coffee and caramel, and coffee with raspberry; these are all very pleasing combinations. Just imagine yourself going to a café to order a coffee and seeing what kind of syrups you can add to it.
As for the anatomy of this particular piece of patisserie, it's basically a coffee favoured sponge with a raspberry pouring fondant topping. The sponge is flavoured with both strong coffee and coffee grinds, which gives it a nice speckled appearance akin to a poppy-seed cake, and also means that it tastes quite strongly of coffee.The topping is a boiled sugar pouring fondant, flavoured with strained raspberry jam; it's best to use a jam with a high fruit percentage (sixty percent or more is preferable) to make sure it's nice and fruity. I like very strong flavours, you might've already guessed.
And you will soon learn that I just have a thing for sliced cakes and tray bakes. That's what I get for being an Irish Protestant... it's just in my blood.
So, to make this deliciousness, you will need:
For one 6x9 inch (15x23 centimetre) cake:
- 4 ounces (115 grammes) spelt flour
- 2 ounces (55 grammes) cornflour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 3 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 4½ ounces (130 grammes) caster sugar
- 1½ ounces (45 grammes) melted butter
- 1½ ounces (45 grammes) sunflower oil
- 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) strong black coffee
- 8 ounces (225 grammes) caster sugar
- 2 fluid ounces (60 milliliters) water
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar, or lemon juice
- 1 ounce (30 grammes) strained raspberry jam
- Optional: about 4 tablespoons of raspberry- or coffee-flavoured syrup.
- Prepare the cake using this recipe, and bake it into a 7x9 inch (17x23 centimeter) cake tin for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to touch and a cocktail stick stuck into the thickest part comes out with one or two crumbs stuck to it. Leave to cool.
- If you want to make the sponge a little moister, you can sprinkle the cake, while still a little warm, with raspberry- or coffee-flavoured syrup.
- Once the cake is completely cold, start preparing your pouring fondant using this technique. As you already know (or at least you ought to know / for I have often told you so) that pouring fondant must be used immediately after making, as it can't be stored in liquid form like beaten icings.
- Pour your prepared fondant onto the cake and, working very quickly, spread the icing around with a palette knife. You can make swirls on the top if you want but I tend to do streaks.
While the fondant is still sticky, you can sprinkle any kind of pretty shiny things, like hundreds and thousands or vermicelli, but I like leaving mine plain and simple. Allow to fondant to set for about 10 minutes before cutting.
A handy trick I've learnt when it comes to cutting cakes is making sure your knife is nice and hot. I do this by keeping a tall glass or vase full of hot water by my make while I'm cutting, dipping the knife in it before every cut, and using some kitchen paper to wipe off the crumbs between every cut. This means you'll get a perfect, clean cut every time, as if you did it by laser...