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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coffee Cake...Literally!

One of my favorite cooking blogs is the the high-ruler among all other blogs - The Pioneer Woman. She has such a fabulously awesome life and tells you all the nitty-gritty details, whether its about her obsession with her cowboy and his chaps (mmm...), her photography, her city-girl-turned-rancher life, or even about calf nuts. Yes, a blog with calf nuts. And cooking. What more could you ask for! Regardless, her site is definitely worth checking out if you have never heard of it, so I beg you to take a gander.

Not too long ago she shared a coffee cake that she made. Now, this isn't your traditional coffee cake you are thinking of, with the delicious crumbly top. This is a cake that tastes like coffee. With coffee flavored icing. It is a coffee cake! Her cake sounded and looked so delicious that I had to make this myself.

If you check out her site, you will see that her cake looks about a billion times better than mine, and not only is it because she knows how to handle a camera where I clearly don't, but she apparently can follow directions on a recipe. I cannot...I'll explain later. The cake didn't have an overly strong coffee flavor, but when I tasted the icing alone (I used 2 tablespoons of coffee) my mouth was puckering and I thought I'd be awake for days. I was afraid that it was way too potent, but after nearly finishing the cake I wasn't about to give up. Cooking is a game of trial-and-error, right? Luckily, once the cake has the icing on, it balances out perfectly. The icing is not overpowering anymore, and combined with the lightly flavored cake, it definitely tastes like it seems it should. Wonderful.

Now this may sound incredibly moronic of me, but I have learned something new while making this cake. The icing is butter based. The directions clearly state to allow the cakes to cool completely. I was in a rush to get it all assembled so I could have a sample and then head to bed (I seem to bake late at night), so once the cake was cooled off a bit (but not entirely) I went to town icing it. And what happens to a butter-based icing when you apply it to a slightly warm cake? It melts! Imagine that! I should have thought of this, but sadly I didn't. Its a mistake I've never made before, and I will never make again. My cake looked disgusting, and once I realized what I had done, I put the cake and bowl of frosting in the refrigerator and I went to bed. I was able to frost it in the morning and pretty much salvage it, but my "layer" of frosting clearly had melted, lol. Anyways, I thought I'd share my little experience in case you are a novice bake/cook like myself and don't think about these things.
Coffee Cake...Literally!
Serves 8

Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks salted butter
3 tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
Icing
1 1/2 sticks salted butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour two (8 or 9 inch) round baking pans.

2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. In a separate bowl, add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.

4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, add 3 tablespoons to the 1 cup boiling water. Once the butter is melted, add the coffee mixture and mix to combine. Let it come to a boil for about ten seconds, then take off the heat. Set aside.

5. Pour butter/coffee mixture into the flour mixture. Gently stir to combine. Slowly add in the egg mixture, then stir until well combined. then pour into pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until set.

6. Allow to cool completely.

7. Combine all icing ingredients, then ice cake. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

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