Thursday, 3 April 2014

Marbled Mocha Loaf Cake

A coffee cake could be thought of as rather an old fashioned bake. A staple of a bake sale and a standard of a cake stall. Whereas the macaroon, a delicate dacquoise or eclair evoke the perfect Parisian patisserie, the humble coffee cake, with its light airy sponges sandwiched together with a generous dollop of sweet, slightly synthetic coffee buttercream brings to mind a village fete, tombola and a lot of homemade bunting. 

But that's really no bad thing. Infact, Nigel Slater would choose a coffee and walnut cake as his last supper. And if its good enough for Nige, heck, it most certainly is good enough for me.

My inspiration to bake a coffee cake this week came from a most unusual of sources: The British Museum, where I spent an afternoon soaking up an entire year's worth of culture. In one exhibition I read of a seventeenth century 'Cophee-house' near the Royal Exchange, the rather curiously named "Sultaness-head". It was frequented by the likes of Charles Dickens and diarist Samuel Pepys who wrote of finding 'much pleasure in it through the diversity of company and disclosure'. I can't help but think that today's crop of coffee shops, Starbucks, Costa and their ilk, should focus less on advertising their arabica coffee beans and more on promoting 'diversity and disclosure'. Just watch the sales of grande-extra-hot-vanilla-soya-lattes soar...

I spent the entire rest of the afternoon distracted. I could not focus on the magnificent Ming vases. Nor the exceptional display of Egyptian mummies. The controversial Elgin marbles passed in a blur. All I could concentrate on was making this mocha marbled cake:


Marbled Mocha Loaf Cake

For the cake:
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar 
4 large eggs
275g self-raising flour 
2 level tsp baking powder 
1½ level tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 2tbsps boiling water
2 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water

For the icing:
150g icing sugar
75g softened butter
2 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water

To decorate:
A dozen chocolate covered coffee beans

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin.
2. Beat together with butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs until fully incorporated. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Spoon half the mixture into a second bowl
3. Stir the cocoa powder mixture into the first bowl, mixing well to ensure fully incorporated. Stir the coffee into the second bowl, again mixing well until fully incorporated
4. Dollop alternative spoonfuls of the coffee mixture and the chocolate mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
5. Prepare the icing: Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and beat in the butter and coffee granules. Spread over the cooled cake. Decorate with the chocolate coffee beans

Baker's notes...

  • Fancy more of a coffee hit? Use espresso powder rather than instant coffee granules in the cake
  • Try the classic coffee and walnut combination by replacing the chocolate coffee beans with walnut halves
  • This cake has rustic, old fashioned home baking stamped all over it. But where do you get your inspiration for your baking from? The National Portrait Gallery anyone?



  1. Oh, yum. I love mocha anything.
    Those choco-covered espresso beans are the perfect decoration!

    1. I know - mocha is rather like a comfort in a cup...or, now, a slice of cake!

  2. Coffee beans are soooo cute - love your decoration, a coffee lovers dream!

  3. Coffee cake is my Dad's ultimate favourite so this looks like it would disappear very quickly in my house! Love the story behind it too.

  4. I love mocha cake ! look delicious!

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