It’s been a couple of years now that I love making cakes following the trustable recipes by Christa Schmedes, a German baking cookbook author. Her “Lieblings-Kuchen”, 2003, gives a variety of desserts, cakes and pies that can be made easily and you almost feel her around your kitchen giving you the mum-like tips and ideas how to improve each time you bake. I like the simplicity and I like the outcomes.
Last week I tried her ‘Small Coffee Mascarpone Cake’, which I will call here ‘A Small Coffee & Chocolate Mascarpone Cake
If you fear it is yet another remake of the traditional Tiramisu recipe, then fear no more, because it is just not, and that is also why I put the word ‘chocolate’ in its title here, despite the ‘coffee’ that goes in it, too. I would even say it is rather chocolaty than coffee cake, with fancy soft sponge topped with delicious creamy cheese layer.
You can find it in a ‘Festive Cakes’ chapter, and though it takes only about 50 min to make, it will have quite a prospect to impress your afternoon coffee guests.
So, to make it, you will need a 20 – 22 cm large round deep baking tin, I used a heart – shaped tin which was my guest’s special request.
For the sponge you’ll need:
2 eggs, 50 g caster sugar, 50 g self – raising flour, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp instant coffee.
For the chocolate and cream toppings you’ll need:
100 g good quality dark chocolate, and 50 g of the same chocolate for decorating (keep that in the fridge before you start baking), 50 ml freshly made coffee (Espresso would do great), 200 g Mascarpone cheese, 300 g low – fat curd cheese (or low fat cream cheese), 2 tbsp coffee liquor (or 1 tbsp Espresso), 50 g icing sugar (powdered sugar), 150 ml double cream (or whipping cream), 1 tbsp cocoa powder.
It takes 50 min to make, but allow 3 hours to stay in a fridge afterwards.
Heat the oven to 175 ºC and line the baking tin with the baking paper. In a bowl whisk the eggs together with sugar, and gradually add the flour, cocoa powder and coffee to the mixture till it’s foamy but smooth. Pour the mixture to the tin and bake for about 20 min till golden brown. I always test my sponges with a wooden stick, and once the dough wouldn’t stick to it when pulled out of the hot sponge I consider it done well. Let the sponge cool and meanwhile prepare the toppings.
Melt the chocolate in hot coffee first, then pour and spread it all over the cooled sponge. Next, mix the curd cheese, Mascarpone cheese, coffee liquor and powdered sugar together. Whip the cream and gently fold it into the cheese mixture. Spread the cream around the chocolaty sponge evenly, but don’t worry making it look a bit like mini “hills & mountains” – that is actually the look of it I personally like, and you might, too.
To complete the cream topping, use the rest of the chocolate to make pretty chocolate curls and shavings, and powder the whole cake with cocoa afterwards. I however, decided to use ready – made chocolate heart – shaped buttons because of the special occasion. To make nice chocolate curls I can advise you to chill the chocolate bar in the fridge before you do those last touches to your cake, and simply use a vegetable peeler to shave them off the chocolate bar directly on top of the cake. Place the cake carefully on a serving tray or plate and keep it chilled in the fridge for three hours.
You may think the cake is too creamy or perhaps too sweet, but as in many other of her recipes, Christa Schmedes found the balance of tastes and textures very well. Give it a go, try and perhaps let me know how you liked it.