Coffee is our morning brew of choice – double shot, flat white for both of us (soya milk, no sugar, for me – cows milk, sugar for Justin). I must confess, our first mugs of the day are usually instant (the horror!). Fiddling about with coffee machines when you’re only half awake is frustrating.
When I win the lottery (once I start buying a ticket!) I’ll travel ’round the world… and buy a top of the range Jura Bean-to-Cup. It’s the height of luxury having a coffee machine that you can control remotely from your phone. Pre-program your preferences into its memory and, at the touch of a button, it can grind and brew you your perfect cuppa… just to reiterate – that’s a double shot, flat white with soya milk, no sugar, if you’re asking!
This will be my final recipe celebrating Sourdough September – fitting really, that it’s a recipe for a dessert – sourdough coffee chocolate cake. I’ve lifted the instructions from one of my new favourite websites – King Arthur Flour. Their recipes quick-convert between Imperial, metric and US cups – a really useful feature!
As well as Sourdough September, this cake also honours International Coffee Day which happens each year on 1st October… and while I’m at it, why not honour Chocolate Week which runs from 9th-15th October. There… I’ve covered all the bases and no one was left out!
Another good thing about this recipe is that it calls for ripe sourdough or discard. I love using up leftovers! It also lists espresso powder as an ingredient; I ground some espresso beans on the finest setting and that worked perfectly.
The resulting sourdough coffee chocolate cake is HUGE – almost a kilo of icing alone! You may want to halve the recipe. The two of us will be eating a slice every day for a week… not that I’m complaining. It’s soft, moist, sweet and gorgeous!
There are three separate parts to the process; the cake, the icing and the drizzle. If you don’t think you’ll have enough time in a single day to do all three, you can break it up into stages across two or even three days.
This would be a great one to make as a celebration cake. You could even divide the batter into two tins and make a layer cake if you prefer.
Last week, we featured online tea offers; this week, it’s only fair to investigate a few coffee subscriptions available. We only drink one or two cups each per day, but we like them to be made using good quality beans. Favourite of ours are full-bodied espresso beans – and decaf espresso beans for evening consumption.
Coffee-Direct: from £5.99 per 227 sample bag (save 15% when bought on subscription)
Probably the one of the three that has the most choice – there are 16 different Espresso roast coffees alone! Coffee-Direct explain:
At the checkout you have the option to choose to receive your order periodically, at any frequency that suits you. What’s more, once your subscription is set up, you’re able to amend, skip, pause or delete your subscription at any time.
Coffee REAL: subscriptions – £36 – £328 (3, 6 or 12 month coffee subscriptions, 6 – 52 bags of beans)
Coffee REAL is a company with a charitable heart. 10% of the purchase price of their espresso blend goes directly to the Born Free Foundation – and, even better, the blend is made from 2 top coffees that originate in areas where Born Free run wildlife projects.
Skinny Coffee Club: from £24.95 (28 day, 8-week and 12-week day/night programmes)
Well, I never knew that you could drink coffee in an effort to help you drop a dress size or two! According to their blurb:
Skinny Coffee Club is ideal for those looking to lose weight, fast. It’s tasty, organic and designed specifically to raise your metabolism, burn fat, fill you with energy throughout the day and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
There’s only 63mg of caffeine and 6 calories in each cup. Skinny Coffee is comprised of ground coffee, ground green coffee bean extract, green tea extract powder, Garcinia Cambogia, Siberian ginseng powder and spirulina powder. I’ve no idea how much like traditional coffee it tastes but there are thousands of reviews on their website posted by satisfied (slimmer) customers!
We’ve been enjoying a very successful British summer of sport so far with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon (and Heather Watson the mixed doubles), Danny Willett taking the golf US Masters title and Chris Froome dominating the Tour de France. The England cricket team have been performing well, Lewis Hamilton leads the Formula One championship… and our Olympic prospects are looking bright.
What could we incorporate into this week’s Cakes & Bakes to mark the start of the afore mentioned Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro? Why brazil nuts of course!
I trawled all my cook books and the internet and eventually found Dan Lepard’s double espresso brazil nut cake recipe in the Guardian website’s Food & drink section. If you’re a fan of coffee & walnut cake, you’ll love this!
His instructions call for a coffee water icing but I found a chocolate filling that I fancied (from my Little Books of Delight: Chocolate Cakes), so I combined the two together. I also added some whole and chopped brazil nuts to garnish the top. Serve it with a double espresso, what else?!
Cranberry almond biscotti
70g/2½oz butter, melted
135g/4¾oz granulated sugar
2tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla extract
120g/4oz plain flour
120g/4oz semolina flour
115g/4oz dried cranberries
115g/4oz chopped almonds
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Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/ Gas mark 4
Grease a biscotti pan or large baking sheet
Stir together the melted butter, sugar, salt and baking powder
Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs
Blend in the flours, cranberries and almonds
Place into the prepared biscotti pan, leaving a 2cm/¾-inch margin free on each side of the pan, to allow for expansion. If you're using a baking sheet, form the dough into a flattened log about 28 x 10cm (10½ x 4 inches).
Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour
Slice on the diagonal into 4cm/½-inch thick pieces. Place them back on the baking sheet, standing them on edge if you can; this will ensure they bake evenly
Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack
They can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks
We’ve just received this Oxo cold brew coffee maker to try out. We were very intrigued when we first saw it. It filters ground coffee without boiling water. According to the maker:
“The cold-brew process is known for delivering smooth, low-acid coffee. Since the grounds never come in contact with hot water, the result is a less acidic, less bitter flavour. Steeping the grounds in cold water releases only the most aromatic flavours, and the concentrate created from the cold-brew process stays fresh longer than regular coffee.“
It’s easy to use and store… and actually good looking enough to leave on view if you’re planning to use it regularly… which you might very well want to do after trying it for the first time. In effect, it produces a cold espresso. This has the perfect, intense coffee flavour which is ideal for using in baking, ice cream & frappuccinos – and with the addition of boiling water or hot milk to the cold press, a gorgeous cup of real, hot coffee – which knocks spots off a teaspoon of instant!
We’ve been trying it out for a few days now, It’s great having ready-made, real coffee that just needs hot water or milk added. It’s like making & drinking instant coffee but with the superior real coffee taste. We’ve got a funny feeling our latte and frappuccino consumption is going to go through the roof!
Even if you’re not much of a coffee drinker, you can use it to cold brew your tea leaves.
If you fancy getting your hands on your very own Oxo cold brew coffee maker, why don’t you enter our competition below? Give it a go!