What could be more disappointing than a coffee cake that barely tastes like coffee? Maybe a chocolate cake that doesn’t taste anything like chocolate, but that’s by the by.
Seriously though, it’s always disheartening to follow a seemingly fool-proof coffee cake recipe to the letter, only to come out disappointed. Cake that’s too heavy, too light or too dry is bad enough, but coffee cake that doesn’t actually taste like coffee…well, it’s not really coffee cake.
As for the good news - there are various options available for adding a little more ‘oomph’ to your next coffee cake recipe with a much more prominent coffee flavor. Experiment with any of the following and you can at least rule out the risk of your next cake not being coffee-ey enough:
1) Replace Some of the Liquid with Actual Coffee
If the recipe you’re following calls for a measure of water, replace some of with a slug of extra-strong fresh-brewed coffee. If you’re baking something with milk in it, replace a measure of the milk with a robust coffee-milk infusion. Basically, it’s a case of not looking at coffee exclusively as a dry ingredient - try adding it to your cake mix in its liquid form. And don’t be afraid to keep it nice and punchy, as the rest of the ingredients will dilute the flavor significantly.
2) Add Coffee to Your Cream and Icing
Another way to add zing to a coffee cake recipe is to put more coffee in the cream, the icing and pretty much everything else. Again, you can do so in the form of super-strong liquid coffee if preferred, or go the dry way. You could also simply ignore the measurements in your preferred recipe and increase the amount of coffee you pack into these accompaniments and garnishes, just as long as you make adjustments elsewhere to ensure the right consistency, moisture level and so on.
3) Consider a Final Coffee Glaze or Drizzle
The third option can be great for adding moisture and flavor to any type of coffee cake - including a cake you’ve already baked and aren’t particularly happy with. You know the method for adding a gorgeous tangy punch of lemon to a lemon drizzle cake? Well, you basically do the same, only with a punchy liquid coffee at your preferred strength and sweetness level, mixed with caster sugar. Alternatively, punch some holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick and brush over it with some strong and sweet coffee, in order to allow it to penetrate into the previously dry cake below the surface.
Remember: Quality Counts
As with all recipes, start out with low-end ingredients and you can only expect a low-end result. If looking to cook up the ultimate coffee cake at home, set your sights on the highest quality beans you can find.
This alone will make all the difference in the world to the flavor of the batter, along with any accompaniments and decorative touches you choose to add.
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