Baking for Mum

My Mum loves coffee cake. So, for Mother's Day I made coffee and walnut cupcakes, again from Hamlyn's 200 cupcakes book.

I tend to prefer cakes before they are iced, but tasting these ones before icing them was a serious mistake which almost ended in me slinging the whole lot in the bin... luckily I was talked down off the ledge and once the coffee buttercream had been applied they were much more palatable!

Mum's birthday wasn't too long after, so this was another excuse to get into the kitchen again. This time, I made a Cappuccino cake, which I think is one of the best things I've made to date. It's from 101 Teatime Treats and is sooo easy to make, I've done it for 2 birthdays now and also once more just for fun! The filling and topping is marscapone cheese with coffee, which I thought sounded vile but is actually really nice.

It's so nice, that I'll post the recipe:

For the cake:
250g/9oz butter, softened
250g/9oz light brown soft sugar, plus 2-3 tbsp extra
300g/10oz self-raising flour
4 eggs, beaten
50g/2oz walnut halves, toasted and finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz very strong coffee, cooled

1. Preheat oven to 180c/Gas 4. Butter and line bottoms of 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until pale.
3. Add flour and eggs and keep beating until evenly mixed.
4. Fold in the walnuts and half the coffee.
5. Spoon into the tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until golden and well risen.
6. Leave in tins for 5 mins before cooling on a wire rack.
7. Sweeten the rest of the coffee with the extra sugar and drizzle 4 tbsp over the sponges, and leave to cool completely.

For the frosting:
500g carton mascarpone
2tbsp light brown soft sugar
cocoa powder or drinking chocolate to decorate

1. Beat the mascarpone, sugar, and remaining coffee until smooth.
2. Use half to sandwich the sponges together and spread the rest over the top of the cake.
3. Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder.

If you want to make the cake slightly healthier, substitute butter for margarine, and use low fat mascarpone. I always use marge instead of butter because I have a slight intolerance to butter so can't eat too much of it. Personally I really don't think it makes too much difference to the taste, but I always use actual butter for buttercream - some things you just shouldn't compromise on!