Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Before this dessert went totally buried from others that keep streaming out from the oven, I better share it with you now. It is in a way similar to the Tiramisu I made not long ago, but alcohol free. And with an extra dose of caffeine thrown into the cake.
I first saw the recipe of Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream in Jan 2007 issue of Bon Appetite magazine, and had bookmarked it since I know I would love this cake, simply judging from the list of its ingredients.
After holding the recipe on for so long, I am happy to report that my intuition was right.The reason that it wasn't made immediately was because of the lack of photograph on the magazine ( yes, I am a visual person) and several negative comments left on its website, which kept my enthusiasm at bay. Also I must confess that I was lured into making other desserts, mostly ones with stunning pictures that whet my appetite. Anyhow, I finally pluck up enough courage to make this cake after a recent success with its alcoholic cousin - Tiramisu. Both cakes are very similar in ingredients and preparations, so I guess it couldn't be as bad as other reviewers had rated.
Moreover, It's Dorie Greenspan's recipe. Having tried a few recipes with great success from her amazing book- Baking From My Home to Yours, I feel pretty positive about baking this cake. Truth be told, I have one tub of Mascarpone cheese waiting to be used before it get expires in the imminent future. So, with a sense of urgency, I started making the cake.
True to its name, this cake is full of walnut flavor. Part of the toasted walnut was grounded and added into the cake batter. A tablespoon of instant espresso powder is also added to the batter to impart a coffee flavor. As a result, I got a tender, fine crumb, nutty cake with great coffee aroma.
After making the coffee mascarpone cream, which is a coffee lover dream come true,I decided to add some finely chopped 72% chocolate on top of the cream. A trick that I learned from the Tiramisu which I believe will taste nice here too. And it did!
After frosting the cake, I cut a generous slice for myself and enjoyed it over a cup of coffee in the afternoon. The rest was passed to OCT's lab for the Friday lab meeting.
Although this is the kind of cake OCT and I like, I believe it may not be something that kids would enjoy. Neither would people who don't drink coffee nor dislike walnut. But if I ever ran a cafe one day, this will surely be on the menu!
hey, I am allowed to dream right?
Coffee Walnut Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream
Adapted from Jan 2007 Bon Appetite
1 cup walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted, chopped, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (my addition, optionally)
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) walnuts, toasted, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
*Italian cream cheese; sold at many supermarkets and at Italian markets. preparation
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Blend 1/2 cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon sugar, and espresso in processor until nuts are finely ground. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually add remaining sugar (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon), beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then egg yolk. Add ground walnut mixture and vanilla; beat to blend. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup walnuts. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
Bake cake layers until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 26 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks and cool completely.
For coffee-mascarpone cream:
Stir espresso and 1 tablespoon water in large bowl until coffee dissolves. Add cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until filling is thick and smooth (do not overbeat or filling may curdle).
Place 1 cake layer on platter, flat side up. Spread half of filling over cake. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top of filling. Place second layer, flat side down, on filling. Spread remaining filling over top. Mix walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle over top of cake. Cover with cake dome. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.