I will confess to going a little off menu with just a few of the ingredients this week. Rather than getting white fondant and brown food colouring I ended up with chocolate flavoured fondant. It seemed to work just as well with the recipe, and you only use a small amount so the chocolate wasn't overpowering. This was my solution to an absence of brown food colouring in the supermarket, and I was pleased with my ingenuity (small things!). The only coffee essence I could find was that large bottle of Camp Coffee and Chicory essence. I'm not entirely sure it was the right thing to buy, the chicory gave it a smoked flavour, which was lovely, almost like treacle toffee, but it was a bit more complex than just a coffee essence. I'm looking forward to finding some other recipes for this, apparently its a Scottish product, so if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to try them, it feels like the perfect winter ingredient.
Confession 2 - I failed this recipe on the first attempt. That beautifully bubbly genoise mix you can see above produced a thin rubbery sheet. Never one to waste cake I covered it in the coffee icing and decided to give up on the recipe for the evening. When I cut into it I found pockets of raw cake mix and lovely lumps of self-raising flour, which explained why it hadn't done quite what it should. I think I had been so scared of stirring it too much and losing the air I didn't mix it enough and it ended up in the bin. I think Millie could sense the impending disaster from the look on her face.
Confession 3 - It may be blasphemous to say so, but I disagree with Mary's recipe. The picture above is my first attempt at the coffee icing, and the second attempt looked fairly identical. I found a single recipe on the internet that also mentioned milk, which wasn't included in the recipe on either the BBC site or the GBBO official website. However, it seemed like a reasonable suggestion, and it turned out to be third time lucky, resulting in the much more appetising version below, although it was also slightly addictive. The first successful batch of this got poured over the cake that then got binned, but at least when I started again the next day I knew exactly what I was doing with this. I have included milk in my version of the recipe below.
Confession 4 - the sugar syrup did not go very well. This was my first ever attempt at a sugar syrup, and I did manage it much better by the time the mille feuille came around, but this ended up crystallising a little. Being a bit too lazy by this point to re-make yet another part of the recipe, I used it as it was but later regretted it, more on that later.
Confession 5 - Even my second sponge didn't rise brilliantly, despite the copious whipping and gentle folding. It was lacking in the rubber department, and there were no surprise bursts of uncooked flour, so I was happy enough to use it for the recipe. It did require some fairly delicate slicing, and there were one or two where I was grateful for the icing because it helpfully covered the bare patch of sponge on the top where I had cut it a bit fine.
Confession 6 - I think I went a bit overboard with the apricot jam, really daubing it on so that I could make sure they were properly covered in nuts. As a result, there was a strong apricot flavour which I thought took over from the coffee slightly, I wonder if a coffee icing (told you that stuff was addictive) might work better, or if it would look too messy where you could see it between the nuts.
Confession 7 - I ran out of the crème beurre. See my earlier confession about the sugar syrup. This meant that the finished mixture was full of lumps of crystallised sugar, and having put the mix straight into the piping bag, the nozzle kept getting blocked with these lumps. This meant that quite a lot of the mix ended up getting wasted as I had to keep cleaning out the nozzle, and so some of the finished cakes ended up looking like this one.
Confession 8 - Despite all of the above, I really enjoyed making these, and loved the finished result, they actually looked vaguely like they were supposed too, and tasted nice too. If you ignore the failed attempt, they didn't take all that long to make (by GBBO standards anyway!) and looked like time and effort had been put into them.
Mary Berry's Mokatines
Recipe adapted from BBC Food
Makes 9 cakes. Prep time 1-2 hours. Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour.
For the genoise sponge
- 40g butter
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 75g caster sugar
- 65g self-raising flour
- 1 tbspn cornflour
For the coffee icing
- 50g butter
- 1 tbpsn instant coffee
- 225g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tbspn milk
For the crème beurre au moka
- 40g caster sugar
- 1 large free-range eggs
- 75g softened butter
- 2tsp coffee essence
- 4 tbspn apricot jam
- 100g chopped almonds, toasted
- 100g chocolate fondant OR 100g white fondant and brown food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Grease and line the sides and base of a shallow 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
- To make the genoise, gently melt the butter in a pan, then set aside to cool slightly. Put eggs and sugar in large bowl and whisk at high speed until the mixture is pale, thick and mousse-like, so that it leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted up.
- Sift the flours together into a bowl, carefully fold in half of the flour into the egg mixture. Pour half of the butter around the edge of the mixture and fold it in. Repeat this process with the remaining flour and the remaining butter and then pour the mixture into the cake tin.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until well risen and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, the turn onto a wire rack, remove the parchment and leave to cool.
- To make the coffee icing measure the butter into a small pan, and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and pour in the milk and add the coffee, stir until the coffee has dissolved. Add the icing sugar, mix until smooth and glossy and leave to thicken.
- To make the crème beurre measure the sugar and two tablespoons of water into a small, heavy-based pan. Heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil steadily for 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid is clear and forms a slim thread when pulled apart between two teaspoons. (The syrup is very hot so handle with caution!)
- Put the egg yolks in a small bowl, and whisk lightly to break them up. Preferably using a stand mixer, add the syrup in a thin stream over the yolks, whisking the yolk continuously as you do so, until the syrup is incorporated and the mixture is thick and cold.
- In another bowl cream the butter until very soft and add the egg yolk mixture gradually. Stir in the coffee essence to flavour the mixture and use it to fill a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle.
- To assemble, slice the cold cake in half horizontally and sandwich the slices back together using the coffee icing. Trim the edges of the sponge and then cut the cake into 9 equal squares.
- Gently heat the apricot jam, then pass through a sieve into a bowl. Brush the sides of the cakes with a thin layer of jam and roll the sides in the toasted nuts until the sides are well coated.
- Pipe tiny rosettes of the crème beurre very close together around the top edges of each square. Keep the rosettes close together so they form a solid border, to allow the centres to be filled with fondant. Pipe another line of rosettes around the bottom edge of the cakes.
- Knead the fondant icing until it is soft, beat with a wooden spoon, or food processor, until smooth. Gradually beat in 4 tablespoons of water to make a thick liquid glaze, so that the consistency will pool in the middle of the cake. If using food colouring, add it to the mixture to make a coffee-coloured glaze. Spoon into the centre of the cakes and leave to set.