Full of beans?
I’m not that big on coffee. I don’t need a cup in the morning to get off to a good start. I don’t need a cup after a meal to finish in style. And in between I would tend to agree with Worzel Gummidge. I’d much rather have a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake. The only time I really appreciate coffee is when it is baked into a cake. And that’s a shame because 99 times out of a 100 coffee cakes can be something of a disappointment. How on earth do you get a coffee cake to actually taste of coffee? I have found that the worst culprit for robbing a coffee cake of its flavour is dairy. Milk, cream, yoghurt. If you are adding any kind of dairy to the cake then the coffee flavour seems to be dulled. So you would imagine that replacing the milk or whatever with another liquid such as plain old water would solve the problem, but that is not necessarily the case. According to an old saying – coffee should be sweet as love, strong as death and hot as all hell. I couldn’t be so dramatic about coffee cake. All I know is that it’s given me a latte trouble.
I’ve tried all kinds of take out coffees, home-brewed, espresso powder, instant granules, different brands and different blends. I’ve tried using cheap coffee. I’ve splashed out on coffee that has cost a few bob. I’ve tried multiple combinations. All to no avail. So you think to yourself you should simply add more coffee, but that never works either. You wind up with a cake where the flavour hasn’t improved at all, it has just become overly strong and bitter. I have often heard the recommendation that when making coffee cakes you should use Camp coffee. Camp is a brand of coffee extract that is flavoured with chicory. I have tried Camp coffee a few times but the flavour was still not very in tents. Baking with coffee can be exasperating. It’s no wonder they call it jitter juice.
Short and sweet?
I’m a big fan of sweetened condensed milk. It’s such a versatile ingredient for home baking. It’s cheap. It doesn’t take up much room. It usually has a long shelf life. And it sits there in the cupboard waiting patiently to be used in everything from fudges to cheesecakes to Bundt cakes and loads of other things besides. Apparently, back in the olden days people would sit and eat it by the spoonful. Straight from the tin! I wouldn’t go so far as that – think of the diabetic implications – but I do tend to have a couple of tins on standby. The recipe I’m showing you today is for a coffee flavoured Bundt cake made using condensed milk. I know, I know. There wasn’t much scope for a snappy title so the name is a bit clunky. The condensed milk makes for a dense and moist cake and gives it a lovely sweetness. Perhaps the best part is that I’ve finally found a milk cake that doesn’t stick to the tin and where you can still taste the coffee. Result! Or as they say in France, better lait than never.
A tin to bake it in.
The Wilton Queen Of Hearts Bundt is an odd size for a Bundt tin. It comes in at 11 cups. That’s two and three-quarter litres in English money. Most standard Bundt tins are 10 cups. I know you will think I’m being pernickety about that extra cup, but this is a big old cake. If you only have a normal 10 cup Bundt tin then this cake will be ever so slightly too much. You will have to leave a little of the cake batter out or else your cake might overflow. Unless you enjoy cleaning your oven, in which case – whatever fills your bucket. Who am I to question how you get your kicks? If you are lucky enough to own the Wilton Hearts Bundt tin then this cake fits like a dream. The cake will rise evenly just up to the brim, and after the resting time it should slip out of the tin fairly easily with a gentle shake. All in all this is quite a good coffee cake. Make sure to give all your friends and family a slice. I’m sure that they will be lining up to espresso their gratitude. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Coffee Condensed Milk Bundt.
- 12g Coffee Granules.
- 120ml Boiling Water.
- 120ml Cold Water.
- 350g Self Raising Flour.
- 300g Granulated Sugar.
- ½ tsp Salt.
- 60g Margarine (melted and cooled slightly).
- 397g Tin Condensed Milk.
- 3 Large Eggs.
- Up to 50g Icing Sugar (for dusting).
- Position a shelf in the centre of the oven, no tray. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt tin. I used the Wilton Queen Of Hearts Bundt tin and it fit like a glove.
- Stir together the coffee granules and boiling water until the coffee has fully dissolved.
- Stir in the cold water. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Using the paddle attachment, beat together the flour, sugar and salt until aerated and well mixed.
- Add the melted margarine, condensed milk and eggs.
- Beat on a low speed until just combined.
- With the motor still running on a low speed, slowly pour in the cooled coffee until just combined.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
- Pour into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a few damp crumbs attached.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. You may need to give it a gentle shake, but the cake should come out fairly easily.
- Dust with icing sugar just before serving.