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The Ottolenghi newsletter arrived in my inbox with the title ‘The worlds easiest chocolate cake’ well that has to be worth a whirl.

The last 14 years I have made many a recipe from Ottolenghi's cook books. I trust them entirely they have never failed me, but I had one problem, I didn't have any instant coffee!  

Why would l? When I work for H.R. Higgins (coffee-man) ltd. with access to the finest coffee in the world.

So I just made a moka pot instead, what could possibly go wrong?  I got my trusty Alessi Moka pot and began to grind the 1942 blend beans with tasting notes of cherry, chocolate and hazelnut I thought this would be a good choice. Although I am sure any of our espresso coffees would work.

Once the pot had brewed I poured it over the chocolate and butter.  As I was stirring and watching it melt the smell was heavenly.  It suddenly occurred to me a 6 cup moka pot is probably a lot more than a teaspoon and a half of espresso powder! Very apprehensive of the coffee taking over the whole cake I began to worry! 

Something really special happened the coffee with the chocolate balanced together giving it a deep, rich, sumptuous taste.  The texture was very smooth and almost melted in your mouth when you ate it, and then the ganache wow!

The jury (the team at Higgins HQ) all agreed we didn't get the cherry notes from the 1942 blend but we did get chocolate (obviously) and the hazelnut. The coffee definitely became part of the cake as opposed to a flavour enhancer so I asked if they felt it should have less coffee, to which they replied in unison 'NO'. 


You will need...

250g unsalted butter at room temperature

200g dark cooking chocolate

1 moka pot of 1942 blend coffee (approx 300ml topped up with hot water to 350ml) 

250g caster sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla essence

240g self raising flour

30g Quality cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt


Chocolate Ganache

200g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken up into 2cm pieces

200ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Method...

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment, then set aside
  2. Place the butter and chocolate in a large heat proof bowl.
  3. Make a 6 cup moka pot we used the Alessi Moka Pot (full instructions found here) which made about 300ml of coffee top up with hot water to ensure you have 350ml of liquid to pour over the butter and chocolate. Mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth.
  4. Whisk in the sugar by hand until dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again until the mix is thoroughly combined and smooth.
  5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and whisk this into the melted chocolate mix. The batter here is liquid, but don’t think you have missed something: this is how it should be. 
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 60 minutes, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little, but don’t worry, this is expected. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tin, and set aside until completely cool.
  7. For the ganache, place the chocolate pieces in a food processor, blitz until fine and set aside.
  8. Put the cream and golden syrup into a small pan and place over a medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear – just before it comes to the boil – remove from the heat. Get the food processor running again, with the chocolate still inside, and pour in the hot cream in a steady stream. Process for about 10 seconds, then add the butter. Continue to process until the mixture is shiny and smooth.
  9. You can make the ganache by hand: just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before you scald the cream and golden syrup and pour it over the chocolate. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.
  10. Whether you make it in a machine or by hand, use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with cling film, with the cling film actually touching the top of the ganache.
  11. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want, then use it to ice the cake: if you want a thin layer to spread over the cake, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating.
  12. For a thicker ganache with a spreading consistency, leave it for about 2 hours at room temperature before using a spatula or knife to ice the cake.
Chocolate Espresso Cake
Chocolate Espresso Cake
Chocolate Espresso Cake

Recipes

Simple Tiramisu Recipe

Tiramisu is a coffee-flavoured Italian dessert and a favourite of ours at H. R. Higgins.

The literal meaning of Tiramisu in Italian is “pick me up” or “cheer me up”. As the name suggests, this is an iconic Italian dessert that is served at the end of the meal.

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