Coffee cakes

Coffee cake, as made by my English grandmother in the 1960s, would have been a single layer of cake flavoured with coffee from her Cona machine. Iced and decorated with walnuts, it was a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Coffee cake as eaten in California in the 1960s was an offering brought to a coffee morning and enjoyed by suburban wives. One of the many amici falsi encountered when crossing the Atlantic.

Likewise muffins, scones, cupcakes, and biscuits all differ and sometimes I cannot remember how or why. I used to make things called scoffins which were half way between a scone and a muffin but then realised that they were well on the way to being rock cakes …

The first time I ever tried to make American muffins I used a recipe from the original Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. I seem to recall reading that it was fun to leave out one or other of the ingredients and see how they turned out. I have been doing this ever since.

So, back to coffee cakes. These little cakelets are handy for storing in the freezer and getting out when you feel the need for some some cake. They are flavoured with coffee and do feature walnuts and can be eaten at any time of the day. Measurements are very approximate.

coffee cakes
  • Ingredients: 150g mixed plain flour and ground almonds, 1 tsp baking powder, 100g muscovado sugar, 100g butter/rape seed oil, 2 eggs, 100ml fresh pancake batter, 100 ml filter coffee. Whole walnuts, maple syrup, milk.
  • Method: Cream the butter and sugar, add oil if using, stir in the eggs one by one adding a little flour each time. Then fold in 120g of flour/ground almonds/baking powder. Add the coffee, then the batter. Finally, fold in enough of the remaining flour mix to achieve a dropping consistency. Spoon into greased muffin tins and add a walnut on top. Cooking time 25 minutes at 180°C. Just before the end, take them out and brush the tops with maple syrup and milk then return to the oven for a minute. Freeze when cold.

2 thoughts on “Coffee cakes

  1. Judith

    I made these coffee cakes to feed someone who came to sit in the garden and discuss Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I discovered rather late that I had no baking powder so substituted Bicarbonate of Soda, which of course left a slightly bitter taste. But with a dollop of slightly sweetened fresh cream they were great, and I have some still in the freezer. Thank you! The book was also wonderful, and the company. J


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