In case you haven’t guessed by now, I’m an empty-nester … unless you want to count the dogs, of course. But when it comes to consumers of human fare, I have only one offspring who still lives nearby. He’s the sole beneficiary of what’s produced in my quest to become better than just OK in the kitchen. More accurately stated, he’s the only one around who’s constantly in the line of fire when I start pushing food. He’s a good sport about it, for sure, but when push comes to shove, I’m forced to accept the fact that my big-batch cooks were much more appealing when he was in college. Enter the freezer.
I often worry that my freezer is a kind of halfway house for food on its way to the bin. But the sad truth is that I’m still not accustomed to cooking smaller portions. And if I want to try making something new, it’s not uncommon for me to forget that I need to make 1/2 or 1/3 of the recipe. On top of that, sometimes it’s just too much trouble to do the calculations and pare down. This is one of those times.
I saw a coffee cake on TV last week that looked really delicious. It was a riff on those melted ice-cream cake recipes and I’ve been dying to make it. When I went to the store yesterday, I picked up a box of yellow cake mix and some coffee ice-cream, imagining how nice it would be to have a small smackeral with my coffee in the mornings.
As happens many times, I looked up the recipe online and felt overcome with disappointment. This was supposed to be a COFFEE coffee cake. But the only coffee ingredient was the ice-cream. Now, maybe it’s just me but when someone promises me coffee, I expect a pretty big flavor. I’ve made one of those ice-cream/cake-mix recipes before and found that the flavor of the ice cream alone just wasn’t enough to convince me that I was having anything other than a yellow cake. So I decided to come up with my own recipe, and I’m really glad I did. Here it is … my Triple Coffee Coffee Cake (aka Coffee CUBED).
This is a two-part recipe – part 1 is the cake, part 2 is the streusel.
TRIPLE COFFEE COFFEE CAKE
For the cake:
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups melted coffee ice-cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp. Kahlua coffee liqueur
- 1 tsp. espresso powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
For the streusel:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 stick cold butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
Here’s what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9″ square baking dish with cooking spray. I decided to do something a little more festive in recognition of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday so I used silicone cake molds. Those didn’t need to be coated. Next …
Make the streusel in a medium mixing bowl by adding the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and espresso powder. Mix together, then add the butter and salt. Combine until the butter is well incorporated into the dry mixture and it looks like fine pebbles. I used my Ninja food processor. You can use a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingers, but I’m a gadget gal who’s sometimes impatient, so I took the short route to the finish line.
Next combine the wet ingredients (eggs, ice cream, Kahlua) in one bowl, and the dry ingredients (cake mix, espresso powder, salt) in another bowl.
Next pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. You’ll see a few small lumps but don’t worry. It’s OK.
Then it’s time to layer the batter with the streusel.
IF you are making just a regular coffee cake, in a baking dish, you’ll start with batter and end with streusel on top. BUT … if you are using a cake mold that will be turned upside down after the cake is baked like I did, then your first layer will be streusel and your last layer will be batter. You’re going to make 2 layers of each of streusel and batter either way you go.
I thought this recipe would make 2 molds of cake. It made 4.
Put the cake/cakes in the oven and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Mine took about 33 minutes. And the baking instructions are the same if you only do one cake in a larger pan/dish. But be careful about that, and remember that if you’re baking a single cake in a 9×9 (brownie-sized) dish, you’ll probably be OK. But if you’re baking in an 8×8 dish that is deeper, you may need more bake time. The deeper the dish, the longer it takes to bake.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the page, the recipe turned out pretty well. At least I think it did. The coffee flavor is definitely there. The streusel is nice and light with a good texture and not overly crunchy. I was a little worried about putting the streusel down as the first layer because I was afraid it might make the top of the cake either too oily from the butter in the mixture OR it might be too crunchy from the streusel being closest to the oven coil where it could get too much heat. But it really did turn out nicely.
The original recipe called for less coffee flavor, and more butter and flour in the streusel. I like my recipe better! Less flour, less butter, and a hit of espresso powder in the streusel mixture. I could probably have taken a whole teaspoon rather than 1/2. But it’s still good. It’s a fluffy cake, nice crumb, and it’s got a much richer coffee flavor than it would have if I’d gone with what I found online.
I’m calling this a success! Just keep your fingers crossed it’ll freeze!
- If you don’t like using boxed mixes, you can certainly use the “dry” portion of a basic scratch cake recipe instead.
- Want to make the recipe gluten-free? Use a gluten-free flour or cake mix.
- If you want to make it dairy-free, use coconut yogurt instead of sour cream and coconut milk instead of the ice cream. You’ll also want to use an egg replacer.
- For dairy-free streusel, try plant-based “butter.” Miyoko has a vegan “butter” on the market that actually tastes like butter.
This is a pretty adaptable recipe that I believe can work for most dietary preferences. Don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside the box!