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.

Passion Fruit (Cheese)Cake

Cakes, Fussy

I really thought I had moved on to fall baking, but then I came into some passion fruit puree, as one does (I saw it at the store, and I bought it). Luckily, one of the 43 cookbooks I have checked out from the library right now was a Sherry Yard cookbook that had a delicious looking passion fruit cheesecake. It uses a thin layer of white cake as a base, which I thought was interesting. Normally, I like my cheesecakes to be heavy on the cream cheese and baked until the cheesecake is on the dry side. This cheesecake is extremely creamy, not dry at all. But with the cake base (that comes out unscathed after being baked twice) it works beautifully. There were clean plates all around.

I suppose it’s a little crazy (safe space) to bake an entire cake just to stick most of it in the freezer for another time. But, if you’re like me, you don’t mind having cake layers in the freezer. You could make this with a graham cracker or cookie crust if you’re not as party as me.

  • Buttermilk White Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3 oz white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease, flour, and line with parchment two 8″ round cake pans and one 9″ round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50-percent power, or in a bowl over simmering water.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Whisk a little of the butter/sugar into the white chocolate to blend. Add back to bowl and beat on low speed. Add egg yolks in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
On low speed, add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating, in 4 additions.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually and beat until stiff and glossy. Fold egg whites into batter in 2 additions.
Scrape batter into prepared pans – a thinner layer of batter into the 9″ pan (about 1/2 inch deep). Divide remaining batter between the two 8″ pans.
Bake the 9″ cake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Bake 8″ cakes for 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Cool cakes in pans.
Wrap the two 8″ rounds in wax paper and foil and freeze for another happy day.

  • Passion Fruit Cheesecake:
  • 1 1/2 cups passion fruit puree
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 8″ round springform pan. Using the 8″ base, cut the 9″ cake round to fit and place inside. Wrap pan tightly in foil.

Place 1 cup passion fruit puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to 1/2 cup, stirring regularly and remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup puree.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, scraping the bowl as necessary, blend cream cheese and sugar on low speed, do not beat. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, blending well. Add sour cream and blend. Add the passion fruit puree in a slow stream with mixer still on low speed.

Pour into prepared pan. Place cheesecake pan into a larger cake pan or roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour, until the cheesecake is set. Remove from water bath, cool, and chill.

  • For the Passion Fruit Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup water (plus 2 TBSP for gelatin)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fruit puree
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 pkg gelatin

Soften gelatin in 2 TBS water. Combine 1/4 water and sugar over low heat, stir to dissolve. Stir in puree and lemon juice. Remove from heat. Add softened gelatin and stir until completely melted. Cool until thickened slightly, but still pourable.

Top cheesecake with passion fruit glaze. Chill to set. Unmold and top with fresh passion fruit to serve.