Okay, let’s not get too sentimental now. But on that note of nostaglia and good-byes, I remembered this Mocha cake. I’d baked it for my mum’s colleagues a couple of days before moving from Chennai, so it has kind of stuck in my head as the kind of cake you’d make at someone’s farewell!
This cake is a little different from what I usually make. For starters, it’s got only all-purpose flour, there’s butter and eggs too! I’ve used instant coffee powder in the cake along with the cocoa because I find that coffee powder gives cakes a really rich undertone as compared to using filter coffee decoction. The cake also has some Nutella glaze and filling, I kept this very light because I didn’t want it to interfere with the mocha flavours of the cake. Originally I set out to go a dark chocolate ganache for the cake but I suddenly remembered tasting this Hazelnut frappe at Starbucks in Singapore once and I wanted to somehow recreate those flavours on the cake. What we had the end was a lovely, rich and moist cake with an almost gooey glaze and filling that bound all the flavours spectacularly well.
Mocha cake with Nutella glaze & filling
For the glaze and filling
3/4 cup of Nutella or Crumpy or any similar chocolate spread
2 tbsp of warm milk
Mix the two together to form a smooth paste that isn’t too thick but can be spread easily. Keep aside until later.
For the mocha cake
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa
1/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of demerara sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 heaped tsps of instant coffee powder mixed with 3 tbsp of warm water
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder together. Keep it aside.
In a mixing bowl, put the butter and sugar together and cream until fluffy. Add the two eggs, vanilla essence and coffee mixture to this and beat with an electric beater for about 5 minutes.
Now add the flour mixture to this and beat again for another 5 minutes until you have a smooth batter that is free from any lumps.
Pour the batter into a greased, lined baking dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven when it is done and allow it to cool down completely on a wire rack before proceeding.
When the cake has cooled down properly, cut it into half horizontally and spread the Nutella filling on the cut side. Sandwich with the other slice of cake and press well. Now spread the rest of the Nutella mixture to cover the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with cherries or sprinkles, chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.
* For an eggless version of the cake, replace the 2 eggs with 100ml of buttermilk (Milk + white vinegar) or 2 tsp of flax seed powder mixed with water and 2tbsp of fresh curds.
* I’ve used demerara sugar in this recipe because it helps to enhance the colour of the cake, but you can go ahead and use regular white sugar instead too.
* When you are sandwiching and frosting the cake, go easy on the Nutella because it is quite sweet and has a distinct flavour of it’s own. An overload will leave you with a sugar high!