This post is about a delicious coffee flavoured sponge cake, sure, but it's also about another important topic bakers worry about - baking accidents. Cakes that don't rise, cakes that sink or crack or burn; I've seen them all. And here's the most important lesson I've learnt about baking disasters - you have to stop panicking and embrace them! Even if they happen half an hour before you have to leave for a party and this cake was meant to be your hostess gift. It's guaranteed that whatever you baked with butter, sugar, eggs and flour is going to be edible. Yes, it may not meet your standards for a perfect sponge but here's the thing - almost nobody in that party knows what a perfect sponge looks like. Which brings me to my second important lesson - ganache can cover almost any flaw and people will love what you end up with. Ganache, my friends, is a baker's best friend.
So here's what happened with this one. I followed a Mary Berry recipe to create her perfect coffee sponge. It rose well in the oven but as soon as it came out of the oven, it sank. And I had a cake sized crater to deal with. So I did what I do best; filled it up with white chocolate ganache. Just when I'd poured tons of ganache in, I figured it might get too sweet. So I sprinkled some cinnamon on top, correctly assuming that the spiciness with cut through the sweetness. And while the cake was dense and too sweet, loads of folks said it reminded them of Cinnabon. And that's never a bad thing!
Good luck baking this one, and hope your cake doesn't sink. But even if it does, you know how to fix it now!
For Coffee Sponge
100 grams butter, softened
100 grams caster sugar
100 grams flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp coffee essence (or 1 tbsp warm water mixed with 1 tsp instant coffee)
50 grams chopped walnuts
100 grams white chocolate
100 grams heavy cream
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
To bake the coffee sponge, heat your oven to 180C. Grease a 6 inch round cake tin and line the base with parchment. Beat butter and sugar until pale, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour, baking powder and coffee essence, Beat well, then fold in chopped nuts. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the parchment and cool completely on a wire rack.
In the meantime, chop white chocolate. Heat the cream on a gentle heat until its hot but not boiling. Pour the cream on top of the chocolate, let sit for a couple of minutes and then stir until you get a smooth ganache. Pour the ganache on top of the cake; it will be thin enough to spread but use a spatula to get it all over the top of the cake if you need to. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp cinnamon on top of the ganache.