Update August 8, 2011: Kate Bracks’ recipe for her Retro Coffee Cake with Coffee Butter Cream and Sticky Cinnamon Apples is finally being released after the grand finale last night. MasterChef really missed the boat on this one (as for the whole season of the show this year come to think of it) because it was one of the most searched-for recipes that ended up here in my blog since the episode aired! Anyway after looking at her recipe, it is different as she used a basic butter cake recipe with coffee added for the cake layers, not the classic Victoria sponge recipe base that I used here.
Last week on the third season of MasterChef Australia, during the challenge of re-creating a dish that changed their lives (Ep 8, May 9, 2011), contestant Kate Bracks made a Retro Coffee Cake from the 1980s. It looked dainty and delicious, as she probably cut small rounds out of the sponge and filled and iced it with what looked like plain whipped cream, or maybe Crème Chantilly. I so wanted to try making it as well for a taste, but after waiting for a few days, and realizing that the recipe was not going to be published, I decided to take matter into my own hand and search the web for a similar recipe myself.
Now there are two types of coffee cake. The common coffee cake is actually the one without coffee in the cake, the name merely suggest that the cake be served with coffee, and is usually baked with cinnamon and nuts as filling or crumbled topping, and not iced. That definitely does not look like what Kate baked in the episode and so is not the one I’m after. After going round and round on the net finding lots of such no-coffee coffee cakes, I was getting a bit frustrated. It took me a while, but I finally remebered I had a couple of old cookbooks from the 70s and 80s, one I think I bought from one of those warehouse book sales a few years ago and another a hand-me-down cookbook from a relative. Flipping through the books, I figured out at last the correct search term I should have used for the iced coffee-flavoured cake, which is – coffee gâteau.
The Coffee Gâteau is basically a coffee-flavoured Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake iced with Coffee Buttercream. I’m not really sure if this is similar to what Kate baked, but the name of this cake sounded very retro as well, so I decided to give it a go anyway. In fact, there are also many similar cakes such as Lemon Gâteau, Orange Gâteau, Strawberry Gâteau and others which all used the basic Victoria Sponge as base and filled with different flavouring as indicated by their names.
Since most of the recipes I found for this coffee cake are iced with buttercream and not whipped cream, I thought I might as well go all retro and do it properly. It was delicious but only in small slices, as I must warn you that the buttercream is very sweet and of course buttery, so if you feel sick just thinking about it, I would suggest you just use plain whipped cream or Crème Chantilly as filling and icing. Bon appétit!
Coffee-Flavoured Victoria Sponge:
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar, sifted
150g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon hot water
180g butter, softened
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
2 teaspoons hot water
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease two 18cm round sandwich tins well and line the base of the tins with baking paper.
2. Dissolve instant coffee powder in hot water then let cool before using.
3. Cream softened butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and beat well between each addition. Beat in coffee. Fold in flour in two batches.
4. Divide the batter equally into the two prepared tins.
5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
6. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
7. Spread a little of the buttercream onto one cake. Place the other cake on top, upside down so the flat base is facing up. Spread sides and top of the sandwich with most of the remaining buttercream. Put remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe decoratively on top of the cake to finish.
1. Dissolve instant coffee powder in hot water then let cool before using.
2. Cream softened butter and half the sugar until creamy. Beat in coffee. Beat in the rest of the sugar.
Taste: Very rich sponge cake with buttery sweet cream and intoxicating coffee aroma
Consume: Best within 2-3 days
Storage: May be kept in a cake conrtainer at room temperature in cool weather; but best kept in the refrigerator in hot weather
Recipe Reference(s): From various recipe sources