Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cooked Cappuccino Cake

For as long as I can remember, my grandma has walked to the corner store to buy The Australian and its corresponding magazine each Saturday morning. She then reads it over breakfast and her morning tea, completes the crossword and browses through the magazine. It then comes to our house, where it is generally used for wrapping up rubbish. However, the magazine's 'food' section is always read in full (apart from maybe the wine list which is of no use to someone like me who can't handle more than a glass per night). Apart from the reviews of amazing restaurants I will never visit, the highlight of this part of the magazine is easily David Herbert's themed weekly recipes. 

Most well-known in Australia as former PM Paul Keating's personal chef, David Herbert publishes what are undeniably the most reliable recipes in terms of taste and ease. Without a fail, every dish my mother or I have made from his weekly column in the Weekend Australian Magazine has been a roaring success. They might not look like the styled creations that are published, but the taste  more than makes up for the lack of aesthetic appeal.

There has been, however, one exception to the general rule of Herbert's recipes being flawless. I must preface this by saying that I am absolutely certain that the mistake was completely my own fault. What happened was this: I carefully measured and weighed out all ingredients, followed all instructions to a tee, made the icing in anticipation of the cake cooling on the rack, went to carry the rack over to the other bench so I could ice the cake, and....... the middle of the cake fell through the wire rack and onto the floor. 

You can possibly imagine my panic as I rushed to put what was left of the cake back on the bench, before gathering the bits of raw cake batter off the floor before Pond could finish it all off (in the end Pond did end up eating it, but I wasn't to know that there was no chance of salvation at that point). Obviously I hadn't left the cake in the oven long enough (but the skewer came out of the middle cleanly?!) and so only the outside of the cake had cooked. To see whether or not this had been a problem for other readers, I did a quick search to discover that other bloggers who have made this cake seem to have had a 100% success rate. I still can't work out what it was that I did wrong, but hopefully whatever it was doesn't happen again...  It would have been an awful waste if all of the cake had been ruined but thankfully the edges - forming a nice circular ring of a cake in place of a solid cylinder - had cooked perfectly. And yes, they tasted amazing. So here is the recipe for what it's worth. I highly recommend you try it - and hopefully you will have better luck than I did!

Photo by Guy Bailey

Cappuccino cake (recipe from David Herbert, The Weekend Australian Magazine October 19-20, 2013)


Cake batter

220g unsalted butter, softened
220g caster sugar
220g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp coffee granules dissolved in 2 Tbsp boiling water
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

Pinch salt 

1 Tbsp coffee granules
200g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp cocoa, sifted, to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line bases of two 20cm sandwich tins. 

2. Put all cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or hand-held electric beaters until just combined. 
3. Divide batter between tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. 
4. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. 
5. To make icing, dissolve coffee in 2 tablespoons boiling water then beat butter, coffee and icing sugar with electric beaters until smooth and pale. Use half the icing to sandwich the cakes together; spread the remainder on top. Dust with cocoa.

- Matilda

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