‘Twas my parents anniversary a week ago & being the designated baker there was little choice but to bake a cake. But living life in the unglamorous fast lane, all my fault, is never easy, & I talked my mother into agreeing that the cake could be given a pass. The eleventh hour plunged me into guilt, & I had an hour & a half before fetching the kids from the bus-stop after school.
The easiest was going to be a Swiss roll. The recipe firmly ingrained in my memory…3 eggs, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar…I hit the kitchen counter. Thankfully I’m now a little more organised & keep jelly pan liners cut to size in pairs (just in case the electricity disappears halfway through). Slapped on a cake, quite literally in 15 minutes. Wanted a coffee overdose (hmmm, so what’s new?), so made a coffee sponge. Just beat in some yummy instant Nescafe taster’s Choice (a medium roast coffee made from Arabica beans from Columbia) that the younger sis in Houston regularly spoils me with. She makes sure a jar is sent to me every so often; it’s one I like the full-bodied aroma of & act like Uncle Scrooge with it. LOL…small things in life matter most!
The origin of the term “espresso” is the subject of considerable debate. Although some Anglo-American dictionaries simply refer to one Italian meaning (“pressed-out”), referring to the brewing method, as with the English word “express,” “espresso” also carries the meanings of “just for you” and “quickly,” both of which also describe the espresso process. It is not pronounced “expresso,” though this is a common misconception.
The Swiss roll got put together so quick, that while shoving it into the oven, I pictured 8 slices of cake & a hungry boy asking for seconds. What a bummer…guilt again. I knew the boy would pester me for more, & what’s a cake without seconds anyway (thirds in the kids’ case)!! Aaargh…muttering non-printables under my stressed breath, cursing my silly conscience, I threw in another 3 eggs into the same bowl… reuse = less washing up!! First thought, Le Opera, which I had first seen at Manggy’s ages ago, loved it, but once I read the level of involvement, swore I would NEVER try. I think it was around this time I discovered his wonderful blog, No Special Effects, surfing the net for Opera cakes. Do check out his post here; that cake is spectacular. Missed the Daring Bakers Opera Challenge with a severed vein in my right hand, so my swearing was working. Thinking quick, dumped the jaconde idea (too involved, no time). Not knowing which direction I was heading in, substituted 2 tbsps flour for cocoa, & made the next Swiss roll, a chocolate one.
Whipped some low fat cream with powdered sugar & the instant coffee, threw in some coffee essence for good measure, hoped it wouldn’t be too bitter. Grabbed the only silly looking square platter I own, & sandwiched my sponges! I cut 1/3 off each sponge, & used it to make my 3rd layer. All this was done at express speed…then off I rushed to the bus-stop!
Shoved it into the fridge where it sat overnight, getting mature & moist, the flavours marrying to perfection!! Did the sides with the left-over coffee cream, made some Chantilly cream for the top. Strange thoughts cross the mind at strange times. Was thinking of how to do the top, & filigree came to my mind, which I had done on this Strawberry Chocolate Swiss Roll. I wanted something more challenging as I suddenly had time on my hands with the cake ready. Have been fascinated by Celtic knots for years & used to draw them for hours WHEN I had time (6 years ago), before the kids became big & hungry!! I remember how inspired my daughter used to get, & she used to keep me company for hours, trying to copy what I was doodling. So I opened up my sketch books, chose a knot suitable for a square cake (this is my first attempt at a square cake), put parchment over it, held it down with double sided tape, & traced out my knot with melted chocolate from a baggie with the corner snipped away.
It’s not the best of knots, but I think I’ll try & improve on it in the time to come. Was a great feeling though, tracing my own hand drawing & transferring it onto a cake…YAY!! When the daughter saw me doing the piece for the icing, she slunk away & made a card with a Celtic knot for the gift!
Time for the recipe:-
Chocolate Espresso Gateau…putting an express cake together
Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup
Flour – 1/2 cup
Instant Coffee – 1 generous tbsp
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, grease it & dust it with flour.
Beat eggs with sugar till thick & mousse like. Fold in flour, gently, so that the beaten air is not released.
Pour batter into a lined, greased & floured Swiss roll tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes till done, & lightly coloured.
Turn out to cool on rack, immediately removing the lining.
Eggs – 3
Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup
Flour – 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsps
Cocoa – 2 tbsps
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, grease it & dust it with flour.
- Sift flour & cocoa.
- Beat eggs with sugar till thick & mousse like. Fold in flour, gently, so that the beaten air is not released.
- Pour batter into a lined, greased & floured Swiss roll tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes till done, & lightly coloured.
- Turn out to cool on rack, immediately removing the lining.
Whip all the above till thick.
Cream – 200ml
Powdered Sugar – 2 tbsps
Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
Whip all above till thick.
Cut 1/3 of each sponge off, & reserve. Place the 2/3 portion of the coffee sponge on your cake platter. Spread about 1/3 of the coffee cream over it. Top this with a 1/3 bit of coffee sponge, & a 1/3 bit of chocolate sponge ( 1/3+1/3 = 2/3 = middle layer of gateau).
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