Coffee Birthday Cake

Food Hoarding Confessions, Fussy

I make my birthday cake every year – it’s my favorite cake to make because no one gives me any guff for putting coffee or nuts or raisins in it. I went with coffee this year and used some freezer cake layers and bits of leftover chocolate as decoration. After decorating it, I immediately cut myself a piece and ate it with no fanfare. So there.

  • 2 layers white cake from freezer, cut in half (see passionfruit cheesecake recipe)
  • Coffee Diplomat:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 TBSP instant espresso powder
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 TBSP butter, room temperature, cut into TBSPs
  • 115g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 272g heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Bring milk to a simmer in medium saucepan. Add espresso powder and dissolve. Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in small bowl. Add milk, a little at a time to temper the egg yolks, them pour yolk mixture into saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until very thick, letting a few large bubbles pop before removing from heat. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, then whisk in butter until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface, and cool.

Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour in heavy cream, and beat until very stiff.

Whisk coffee cream until very smooth, then fold in whipped cream until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Chocolate Crumb:
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBS melted butter

Combine all ingredients except butter in the mixer and stir to blend. Add butter and stir until there are no dry spots left. Spread out crumbs on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring twice. Let cool.

  • Milk Chocolate Ganache:
  • 240g milk chocolate, chopped fine
  • 120g heavy cream
  • 1 TBSP instant espresso powder

Heat cream, add espresso powder to dissolve. Pour over milk chocolate and let sit 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let sit to room temperature. Whip with whisk attachment of mixer until light and fluffy.

Build cake: Put base layer in a 8″ cake pan. Spread 1/3 of the coffee diplomat and top with a layer of chocolate crumb on each of the layers, using acetate to build up past the top of the cake pan. Top with last cake layer. Frost with a crumb coat of ganache and refrigerate to set the ganache. Frost with remaining ganache and decorate as desired.

Note: This cake would be just as good as a naked cake – omit the ganache and serve with the layers showing.

Cornbread Skillet Cake

Food Hoarding Confessions

I have this problem throwing food away. My freezer can attest to this. I particularly like this recipe – it uses leftover cornbread, which is pretty much inedible after day one. It works for any meal- breakfast, dessert, or from first hand knowledge I know it makes a fine dinner accompanied by country ham and collard greens.

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups crumbled leftover cornbread
  • 1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to broil on low. Adjust oven rack to the second highest level. Whisk cream, eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar together in medium bowl. Crumble cornbread into mixture. Stir to combine well – it’s okay to have some clumps of cornbread still in tact.

Heat a non-stick, oven-proof 6″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 TBSP butter and swirl. Pour cornbread mixture into the skillet, cook for a minute or two. Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, push the sides toward the middle, to let the wet run underneath. Cook for another few minutes, until the edges have firmed.

Transfer skillet to the oven and broil on low for 5-10 minutes, until the center of the cake is set and golden brown.

Invert cake onto serving platter. Top with maple syrup and butter.

Recipe adapted from Hell’s Backbone Grill cookbook With a Measure of Grace