Sometimes life can reward you in unexpected ways.
I have been going to and using the Moat Theatre in Naas, Co. Kildare since I was a teenager. Recently, when the cafe in the theatre became available for new management, I debated the option. I hummed and hawed but eventually decided that it wasn’t the right thing for me. Really what I wanted was to bake for a cafe. I was delighted when I realised a school friend, Amy had taken on the challenge. I was excited for the creativity and imagination she would bring to the venture. Amy asked me if I would be interested in baking for the newly named Duck and Cup Cafe, and it seemed like perfect serendipity.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly had (have!) anxiety about baking for people who aren’t my friends and family. It feels very strange to think that people would pay for something I had made. There is a certain safety in a blog, images that aren’t tasted, but baking for the public is pretty daunting. So far, however, it has been a great experience.
The cafe launch was a great success, the perfect opportunity to showcase the gorgeous new decor and tasty food. It was also in aid of Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust which really made a great day even better. The refurbished space is bright and welcoming with cosy little nooks to hang out for a lazy Sunday or have a overdue catch up with a friend. The outside area makes the most of our recent sunshine, and there are even doggy treats for sale for our canine friends! The Cafe also have take out facilities so it works well for a mid week work lunch treat!
The sandwiches are fresh in deliciously soft bread, the scones melt in your mouth and the coffee is fantastic. Really fantastic. I often find decaf coffee lacking in flavour but the Two Spots coffee that The Duck and Cup Cafe uses was smooth and delicious. I can’t imagine how good the ‘real’ stuff must taste!
For my first joint venture with The Duck and Cup Cafe I made a Coffee Sour Cream Bundt Cake with a walnut swirl, and a simple coffee icing. I was a bit too worried about making the cake to take lots of pictures of the process, so I hope you’ll forgive me for that! This cake had a pretty mild coffee flavour with the icing really giving the coffee kick. I love sour cream, it gives the crumb such a lovely soft melting texture. The nutty swirl in the middle is a nice surprise I think, and gives a classic coffee cake a bit of a twist!
Coffee Sour Cream Bundt Cake with a Walnut Swirl
Ingredients for cake batter
170 grams of unsalted butter
300 grams of sugar
3 medium eggs
375 grams of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of bread soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of instant coffee dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
100 ml of sour cream
Ingredients for swirl
100 grams of brown sugar
75 grams of chopped walnuts (as chunky or as fine as you like)
A pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg if you like.
Ingredients for icing
150 grams of icing sugar
Approx 30 mls of hot coffee
Handful of tasted walnuts for decoration. Pop these on a baking tray and put them into the oven for 8 – 10 minutes after you take the cake out to toast them.
- Preheat you oven to 170 degrees celcius.
- Mix your filling ingredients together in a bowl and set to one side.
- Butter and flour your bundt tin. (A 12 cup or 10 inch one). Mine has quite a decorative mould and the cake still came out easily but the tin preparation is important!
- I mixed the cake by hand with a wooden spoon but you could use an electric mixer if you wished.
- Beat your butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for a couple of minutes until well combined and a little fluffier.
- Mix in your eggs, one by one, mixing until the mixture is smooth and then beat in the vanilla extract and dissolved coffee. (make sure the coffee isn’t very hot).
- Sieve or whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and bread soda until it is well combined without any lumps.
- Add it to the butter- egg mix along with the sour cream and mix it just enough that it is all combined.
- Now for the layering part! Add just under a third of the cake batter to the pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle half of the walnut sugar mix over the cake batter to cover all the batter. Spread third of cake batter to cover, followed by the rest of the nuts and sugar and finally cover with the remaining cake batter.
- Now pop it in the oven for 55 – 65 minutes. Test by sticking a skewer or toothpick into the cake. It should come out without any sign of wet cake batter sticking to it.
- Allow to cool for ten minutes before turning it out onto a wire cooling rack. It’s important that it’s still warm when you turn it out or else that lovely sugary walnut mix will stick to the edges of the tin when it sets.
- Allow it to cool before icing.
- To make the icing, mix 150 grams of icing sugar with enough hot coffee (I used a gorgeous Two Spot shot of espresso, but use the best you have) to make it drop off the spoon. Using hot coffee melts the sugar making it really smooth, but also means that it sets quicker and get s a little thicker as it cools. What you want is an icing that will slowly slowly slowly move down the side of the cake in delicious rivers, not one that flows quickly – the texture of treacle is good.
- Spoon it onto the top if the cake, letting it drip down and giving it a nudge here and there if needed.
- Sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts if you wish.
(If you love walnuts, check out this walnut and hazelnut cantuccini recipe!)