Tea and toast. Cheese and crackers. Coffee and cake. Some pairings are just meant to be. But caramel makes everything better right?
If I’m not keeping it simple with an americano, my Starbucks order is always a caramel macchiato. The strong coffee mixed with vanilla and caramel just works so well. And why not turn the things you love into cake?!
I think coffee cake is really underrated. Usually paired with walnuts and a sickly sweet buttercream, it just doesn’t do it justice. This cake though is paired with the dreamiest silkiest buttercream you ever did taste. Its a classic swiss meringue buttercream with 175ml of glorious caramel. AHH. I could just eat the buttercream from the bowl. It was my first time using my KMix to make buttercream and oh god the difference. It just made it so light, and even easier to spread on the finished cake.
But, back to the cake! The sponge has instant coffee, a full cup of freshly brewed coffee AND a coffee soak to add when baked. So you could say I like coffee… though the caramel SMB cuts through it all to balance the bitterness out. Now I couldn’t call it a caramel macchiato cake without the signature caramel topping could I? I popped some caramel into a piping bag and went to TOWN. I promise you though, the cake really isn’t as sweet as it sounds with all that caramel flying around. I think thats why I love swiss meringue buttercream so much. It may be richer than regular buttercream with the additional butter, but its so much less sweet! No teeth-grinding icing sugar round here thank you very much.
The whole cake was actually surprisingly quick to make, I made it in an afternoon last weekend and I was enjoying a slice after dinner. I also didn’t make my own caramel for once, as it was a spontaneous bake and that sped the process up! I used a jar of Bonne Maman’s caramel and its really delicious if you fancy being lazy too. If not, my recipe for salted caramel here would work really well, just remember to omit the salt. Although salted caramel buttercream with coffee would be delicious too!
Let me know if you try it, it’s the perfect Sunday afternoon treat with, you guessed it, a cup of coffee!
Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 8-inch cake tins.
In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder and set aside.
Then using an electric mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes until smooth. Add both the sugars and increase the speed to medium-high. Keep mixing until the butter and sugars are creamed together and the mixture is light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla extract followed by the eggs one at a time making sure they are each fully incorporated.
Then in alternating batches, add in half of the dry ingredients, the whole milk and the remaining dry ingredients mixing on low in between. Only mix until the batter is just combined. Then with the mixer on low, stream in the hot coffee and mix until smooth.
Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans, and bake for 24-26 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes on a wire rack, before removing the cakes from the tins.
For the coffee soak, pour all the ingredients into a saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until ready to use.
For the swiss meringue buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and gently whisk by hand to combine. Then place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisking occasionally heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160F (70C) on a candy thermometer. Once you've reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and fit onto a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture for 8-10 minutes until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the bowl should have reached room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk attachment out for the paddle.
Then with the mixer on low, add in the butter a few cubes at a time, then the vanilla and finally the caramel. Once all incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth.
To assemble the cake, place one of the sponges onto your serving plate, brush liberally with the coffee soak and spread on 1/4 of the buttercream. Repeat with the next sponge, and then place the final sponge on top brushing with the remaining coffee soak. Cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream, smoothing or swirling as desired. Finally place the remaining caramel into a piping bag and drizzle over back and forth.
A Millionaires Shortbread is one of those classic treats that’s a definite crowd-pleaser. So when I saw the recipe for an easy peasy no-bake marbled millionaires slice in Everything Sweet, I knew I had to give it a try.
The multi-coloured chocolate top makes it really stand out, but honestly the main draw for me was the biscuit base. This isn’t any old biscuit base oh no. Its a Biscoff biscuit base. Only my favourite tea-dunking biscuit ever! The recipe calls for 300g, and the biscuits come in packs of 250g. The keen of you will realise this means there’s a whole 200g of surplus biscuits to play with! I assure you that all of mine went to a good home… 😉
The beauty of no-bake treats is really the simplicity of them! Aside from time setting inside the fridge this really can be whipped up so quickly. The biscuit base is as simple as crushing the biscuits in either a bag or food processor and mixing it with melted butter. Once its been pressed firmly and as evenly as you can into your cake tin its ready to go in the fridge and you’re free to munch on leftover biscuits!
The caramel filling is a one-pan job, and takes about 10 minutes total to come together. The thicker it is when you’re cooking it on the hob too, the quicker it will be to set in the fridge.
Finally, the chocolate layer involves melting the chocolate and marbling it any way you like! You can really go to town on the decoration and even include some nuts, fudge pieces or sprinkles if you like!
The crumbly biscuit base, smooth and gooey caramel filling topped off with the solid crack of chocolate makes this such a decadent treat, you just have to try it! I implore you. So, on with the recipe!
100g white chocolate (I used Menier White Chocolat)
pink oil-based food colouring (I used Dr.Oetker Gel colouring, but use sparingly as it can cause the chocolate to seize)
Firstly, lightly grease a 20cm square baking tin and line with baking paper.
In a food processor, or using a rolling pin and bag, crush the biscuits. Pour into a bowl with the melted butter and mix to combine. Spoon into the baking tin and press down with the back of a spoon to flatten. Cover and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, combine the condensed milk, brown sugar, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan. Stir constantly over a low heat until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour over the chilled base, spreading evenly and put back in the fridge to chill completely. This should take about an hour.
Finally, melt both the milk and white chocolate. Smother the milk chocolate over the chilled filling and then randomly dollop half of the melted white chocolate over the top of the milk chocolate layer. Using a few drops of the pink food colouring, colour the remaining melted white chocolate and then dollop this on top of all the chocolate layers. Finally using a small palette knife lightly swirl the colours together to create your desired marbled effect.
Cover again and chill in the fridge until the chocolate has completely set. Then cut into slices and enjoy!
Maple and pecan is one of my absolute favourite flavour combinations, so when I saw these maple & pecan cupcakes in the Primrose Bakery Book I knew I had to try them. Especially now that Autumn is in full swing, it seemed like the perfect cupcake to enjoy with a mug of tea in front of the fire.
These cupcakes are a breeze to make, without even the need for an electric whisk! I made these completely by hand and the sponge was light and moist and the frosting super smooth. The caramelised pecans may be the only hurdle, as even experienced bakers can have trouble when sugar has a mind of its own!
For these cupcakes I actually made the caramel twice, as I kept the first batch on the heat slightly too long and it seized. But with caramel perseverance is key – and watching your pan like a hawk! You want to keep it on the heat just until all the sugar is dissolved and its a light golden brown colour. The caramel will harden quickly, so you’ll need to have your pecans already prepared on baking paper, to aid the pouring process.
The sponge begins with the creaming method, followed by the addition of maple syrup and then the eggs. At this point the mixture is unsurprisingly very wet and therefore can look a little curdled. But never fear, as once the flour has been folded in the whole mixture is beaten well until its a smooth consistency.
The mixture makes the perfect amount for 10 American sized cupcakes – muffins to us English folk – and the frosting recipe makes enough for a generous heap on each! The chopped walnuts in the sponge, coupled with the smooth maple frosting and crunchy caramel decoration makes for an excellent combination in these maple & pecan cupcakes!
Is that enough to tempt you to make these Salted Caramel Brownies?? Thought so!
Salted Caramel is pretty old hand now, but that doesn’t seem to stop it being one of the most pinned/googled/requested additions to cakes, brownies, cookies – you name it! And I’m definitely not gonna stop eating it anytime soon thats for sure!
These brownies are super smooth and although theres a load of chocolate they don’t taste too rich at all – meaning you can eat at least three slices before feeling ill… not that I did that…
The salted caramel sauce is totally the star in these brownies, which I absolutely did not eat from the spoon. Its really easy to make and only has 4 ingredients. Though I will give you one tip! Put the sugar on a medium-high heat, watching it constantly, until its fully dissolved and then slowly pour the cream in. Slow and steady wins the race here!
One thing I would say, is make sure you have a reason for baking these otherwise you’ll have 24 brownies calling out for you to eat them!!