April 02, 2008

Chocolate Coffee Coffee Cake

for the cake:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup room temperature, strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature

for the streusel:
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon cocoa


Preheat the oven to 375. Butter and flour or spray with cooking spray with flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa baking powder and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir together the milk and coffee. Set aside. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour until a thick dough forms. Scrap the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth with the back of a spoon or spatula. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together all of the streusel ingredients until a rough crumb forms. You can achieve this by using a fork, pulsing a food processor or briefly mixing with an electric mixer. Sprinkle streusel evenly over the raw cake. Bake about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove to a wire tack to cool. After about 15 minutes, release the cake from the pan and serve.

My thoughts:
One of the more random questions* I get from readers, mostly from those living outside of the US, is if coffee cakes have coffee in them. Generally they do not. Coffee cake refers to a cake that is meant to be served with coffee, not one that contains coffee, just like tea cake doesn't normally include tea. They are generally a little on the dense side and often have a crumb topping. The question got me thinking though. What if there was a coffee cake that had coffee in it? I just got a new thermal french press and when we tried out this weekend, I made a little extra so I make make a cake. I wasn't sure what else should go in the cake but I knew it should have a streusel topping and since I was using coffee, I went dark and chocolate-y rather than going the more traditional pale vanilla cake route. It still would be perfect with a couple of coffee (or tea!), it isn't too rich and the flavor, while very present, isn't overpowering.

*While I don't mind answering questions, this one is particularly random considering that until today, I've never posted a recipe for any sort of coffee cake.