Dan and I are coffee date people. Meals out are more social events than romantic ones. Coffee shops are where we go to spend time together. We have a couple of favourites near home, but what I really enjoy is discovering new ones when we travel to different cities.
We visited Tap Coffee, just off Oxford Street, during a recent trip to London. I immediately fell in love with the rustic wood interior mixed with industrial fittings. There’s a cheery atmosphere, with a good sense of humour (we both had a good laugh at the Starbucks mug used to house a toilet brush in the bathroom).
But what will make me go back is the coffee. It was perfectly made, the milk was hot but not scalded and the coffee was rich but not bitter. You won’t get a vat of brown liquid that requires two hands to lift, instead you get is a cup of coffee to savour, with a slice of cake and good conversation.
This cake is aptly titled the ‘Sunday Night Cake’. It is simple, unpretentious and uncomplicated. It meant to be easy, and slightly rustic (meaning it’s not the prettiest cake out there). It’s meant to be shared with friends round a dinner table, over coffee after supper together.
The dessert puts people firmly in two camps. Those who love the topping not the cake and vice versa. Personally I’m in the mousse camp. I found the cake to be heavy, stodgy and a little bland, I would be tempted to use more cinnamon next time. Other people absolutely loved it, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The sour cream makes it very moist and the hint of cinnamon makes it richer than if you used vanilla instead.
The mousse I just loved. It’s airy and light, it’s rich but not too sweet but full of flavour. I think this would make the perfect frosting for a rich chocolate cake as it would stop it from being overpoweringly saccharine. You could serve it on it’s own as a chocolate mousse. It’s one of those recipes I will be coming back to for years. Not to mention it is so much fun to make! You literally whip the steam right out of it!
Sunday Night Cake
from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
makes 1 9 inch square cake
for the cake:
1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup granulated sugar (I used caster)
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
for the chocolate frosting:
¾ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar (again I used caster)
3 ½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 ounces good quality dark chocolate, roughly choppped
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature, cut into ½ inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 175C and grease and line a 9 inch square cake pan.
In a bowl sift together the dry cake ingredients.
Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter, then gradually beat the eggs into the mixture.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three parts, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting, mix the sugar, cornstarch and cocoa in a saucepan.
Add the chopped chocolate and a cup measure of boiling water, let stand for 30 seconds.
Turn the heat on to medium high and using a whisk, beat until the mixture comes together (about 5 minutes) when this starts to happen the mixture will come together quickly.
Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the mixture into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high (this is the really fun part) until all the steam escapes and the mixture cools to room temperature.
Gradually add the butter and beat for a further 2-3 minutes until the mixture is light and ‘pudding like’ (if you want a lighter texture beat for an extra couple of minutes).
Spread the pudding over the top of the cake, and leave to set in the fridge for 5 minutes.
This cake will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.