Easy coffee and peanut cake with ganache frosting

The extended lockdown in India due to the coronavirus pandemic has been driving a lot of us insane having to forcefully stay indoors. When you are spending more time home, you end up craving for some of your favourite dishes in between work and household chores. Blessed with a weekoff last Sunday (which isn’t usual for me) I decided to try my hand at baking a coffee and walnut cake and use chocolate ganache frosting.

While coffee and walnut make a classic combination, lockdown woes have made it difficult to get some ingredients. So, rolling up my sleeves I went in head-on with the decision to substitute walnut for a cheaper and readily available option – peanuts!

If you carefully follow the steps below, you’d thank me for the delicious cake you’ll have sitting on your dining table within a couple of hours. The entire preparation and baking process should take about an hour; even if you’re proceeding slowly and carefully, it will not take more than 2 hours.

Ingredients

All-purposse flour: 100 gm (1 cup)
Sugar: 100 gm
Butter (room temperature): 100 gm
Eggs: 3
Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
Instant coffee powder: 1-2 tbsp (depedning on the strength of flavour you want)
Milk/water: 1 tbsp
Peanuts (roasted and crushed): 2 tbsp
Chocolate: 50-75 gm

Method

  1. Take a handfull of peanuts, roast them in a pan or microwave grill. Use a rolling pin or manual spice grinder to crush them. Make sure not to make a powder, but only break them into smaller bits
  2. First beat the butter and sugar till light and frothy, in a large bowl
  3. Add the eggs one by one and keep beating and mixing them with the butter
  4. Mix the instant coffee powder in milk/water, and add it to the bowl
  5. Sift the flour gradually in the bowl and mix well, make sure there are no lumps. Add the crushed peanuts/walnuts in the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter into a greased cake mould, and toss it in a pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Things to note

  • It’s good to add a pinch of salt to the batter, but if you’re using salted butter refrain from doing so or your cake will end up tasting strangely salty.
  • To grease and dust the mould, rub a little butter lightly in the sides and the bottom of the inside of the pan. Then sprinkle some flour all over the mould and tap around to spread it evenly. Do not use a spoon/hand to spread the dry flour.
  • Peanuts and walnuts are rich in oil and will release their natural oil during the baking process. So, you may choose to use a little less butter in the batter to keep the cake from becoming oily.
  • Remember to preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius, for about 10 minutes while you prepare the batter. DO NOT start pre-heating the oven after making the batter. Keeping the batter lying around after adding baking powder will not be helpful, as the cake won’t rise.
  • Take a wooden toothpick and stir around the batter lightly in the mould to release any extra air bubble, and evenly lay it out. Be careful not to scrape the sides or bottom of the mould.
  • To know if the cake is well baked, insert a wooden toothpick in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake’s prefectly baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool. If the toothpick comes out sticky with the batter, let it bake for some more time, and repeat the process to verify if it has baked all the way through.

Chocolate ganache frosting

Start the ganache only after the cake is baked.
Crush about 100 gm of dark/milk chocolate and add them to a bowl. Add 1 tbsp butter ans 2 tbsp warm milk to the chocolate. Heat water in a pan, and place the bowl of chocolate over it, and allow the chocolate and butter to melt gradually (do not put the bowl in the boiling water, it should hover at the top of the pan of water. The heat rising up from the boiling water would be enough to prepare the ganache.) Keep stirring and mixing well till the batter is smooth and runny. Remove from heat and set aside.

Final touches

Once your cake is baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes and then take it out of the mould. Place the cake on a plate and let it rest for another few minutes. Then dab a little water on the top and sides, and start forsting.
First, take a couple of spoonfulls of the ganache and cover the top and the sides of the cake evenly. Then pour the rest of the ganache on the top, and use a spatula or a butter knife to spread it out evenly across the top.
Allow the frosting to set for 15 minutes. And voila! your coffee and peanut cake with chocolate ganache is ready to serve.

Please try this simple recipe at home and let me know about your experience in the comment below. Happy baking!

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