Mocha cake

After a few sessions of the Parenting with Confidence workshop, I have decided (in my heart) that our family should celebrate the little things in life. They could be achievements (big or small), certain important dates in the calendar and well, birthdays. You see, the hubs and I are not huge about such things. Both of us (or rather I) would talk about them without really doing anything special for that particular occasion. Say, for example, the hubs’ birthday. I asked him how he wanted to celebrate it and he shrugged his shoulders. So, I spent that day doing up my hair. No celebration, no cake. It’s just a normal day. And the trip down to the hairdresser was a desperate call to the ‘shedding’ of my hair rather than making myself look presentable to the hubs (*think I’m a present to the hubs! hah!). Blame it on the hormonal change.

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Then there was the recent Mother’s Day. In jest, I asked the husband what he would give me as my present and he would give me all sorts of answers like ‘all I have is yours‘. So, I didn’t really get anything for that important day, perhaps just a prayer by the church leaders for all mothers. Nah, I’m not sore about it but a {belated} present would be nice. *hint*.

So, May has ended and June is marching in in all its excitement. School holidays! Hurray! And then the hubs told me he wouldn’t be applying for leave. Oh well. See, we are really not excited about anything. But like I have mentioned, I have decided that we should make it a point to celebrate little things in life and I did what I have set my heart to do – I baked a cake to celebrate the birthdays of our May babies in our cell group. Since both of them are male, a manly sorta cake, like a Mocha cake, would be fitting? However, that would mean that the kids could not have a bite. Oh well, can’t please everyone all the time.

I encountered problems with this recipe. The cake needs more time, double the time in fact, to bake in the oven. The best test, definitely, is to insert the satay stick or toothpick into the centre of the cake and when it comes out clean, it is done. My decorating skill, as usual, sucks big time and I didn’t do a crumb coat before covering the cake with the frosting. Not enough time. Boo!

Nonetheless, I did produce the cake, and we did sing birthday songs for the brothers. Yes, the hubs is one of them and hey, he has a cake after all! So, where’s my Mother’s Day present? Hur hur?

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Mocha cake (Adapted from Cakes: Delicious recipes for a happy life by Marina Neri)

Serves 8 -12
For the cake
275g all-purpose flour
100g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
350g firmly packed brown sugar
180g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250ml milk
2 tbsp very strong brewed coffee
1 tbsp dark rum

Mocha frosting
120g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped ( I used 72% cocoa)
180g unsalted butter softened
3 tsp freeze dried coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extra
300g confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate-coated coffee beans, to decorate

To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the base with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Combine the milk, coffee, and rum in a small bowl. With mixer on low, gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternately with the milk mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

To prepare the mocha frosting, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the coffee, vanilla, and melted chocolate, beating to combine. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy.

Cut the cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Spread one-third of the frosting on one half and sandwich the layers together. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake and create a decorative border with chocolate coated coffee beans.

Note: The next time I bake this cake, I would divide the batter into half and use 2 9-inch pan. Perhaps the time taken to bake would be really 40-45 minutes and you wouldn’t need to cut the cake into half for the assembly of the cake.

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