Coffee and Donuts Cake

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Happy National Donut Day! Does this mean we can eat all the donuts we want and calories don’t count today? If so, you should make three of these cakes. Actually, I didn’t even know Donut Day was a thing until I saw donuts popping up all over Instagram yesterday. I made this cake a couple of months ago for a silent auction, but hadn’t gotten around to posting it out of sheer laziness, so the stars aligned and it’s coming to you on National Donut Day!

The cake itself is a super simple chocolate cake recipe that I got from here. I doubled the recipe to get a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16 mini donuts (or really, donut shaped cakes). Although this cake recipe is vegan, I used cow’s milk since the frosting is not vegan. Speaking of frosting, coffee swiss meringue buttercream is quite possibly the most heavenly creation on earth. I used 2 shots of espresso from my favorite local coffee shop in the frosting, but you could also use 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, or 2 tablespoons of coffee extract (I like Nielsen Massey brand).

The frosting recipe makes a lot, so before you tell me that this recipe makes too much frosting, here’s why (also, please stop complaining about an overabundance of frosting). I wanted to crumb coat the cake and have enough frosting to get a really smooth finish since I knew that people would be bidding on this cake. The leftovers freeze really well (or taste good spooned directly into your mouth). Plus, it’s always nice to have some extra Swiss Buttercream in your freezer.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I use pasteurized liquid egg whites 99 percent of the time when I make SMB. I’ve tried it with both fresh and liquid egg whites, and while the liquid egg whites whip up slightly fluffier, I don’t find that it makes a difference in the finished product. Plus, you don’t need to heat liquid egg whites past 120 degrees, which makes the whole process go faster. So unless I know I have to make a very large batch of pudding in the near future, liquid egg whites it is. And don’t forget to wipe down all your tools with vinegar before you start. Any traces of grease will prevent your meringue from whipping up properly.

As for the butter, the ideal temperature should but soft, but it should still retain it’s shape. If the butter starts to get greasy or mushy, you may have a harder time getting your SMB to come together. In case your butter is too soft (or your egg whites are too warm), just stick the whole bowl of frosting in the refrigerator and try beating it again.

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Coffee and Donuts Cake
Coffee and Donuts Cake
Coffee and Donuts Cake

For the cake, double the recipe here. This makes a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16-20 mini donuts. You’ll need a mini donut pan like this one. Make the glaze in the recipe below. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze, and then cover with sprinkles. Let the glaze dry while you frost the cake.

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Ingredients

    For the Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 6 ounces (170 grams and approximately 6 large) egg whites
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (450 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 ounces espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 ounces (140 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 ounces (150 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Lots of sprinkles for topping

Instructions

    For the Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
  2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should the water be at a rolling boil. It's the steam that's going to heat the egg whites, since we don't want scrambled eggs.
  3. Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit (120 degrees is fine if you're using pasteurized egg whites), whisking frequently.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will take up to minutes).
  6. Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated.
  7. Add the espresso and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  8. To make the glaze:
  9. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
  10. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it starts to steam.
  11. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth.
  13. Use this glaze for the mini donuts and also the top of the cake.
  14. To Assemble the Cake:
  15. Place one layer of the cake on a cake board that is 6 inches or larger.
  16. With an offset spatula, spread 1/2 cup of the coffee frosting on top of the first layer.
  17. Repeat this process with the second layer, spreading another 1/2 cup of the frosting on top.
  18. Place the 3rd layer on top.
  19. Place the cake on a turntable, and apply a thin layer of the frosting on the sides and the top of the cake to lock in the crumbs.
  20. Let the frosting set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  21. Apply the remainder of the frosting to the sides and top of the cake.
  22. Slowly pour the remainder of the glaze on top a little bit at a time until it runs down the sides (you probably won't use all of it) and use an offset spatula to smooth out the top. If the glaze has hardened, warm it up in the microwave at 50% power in 10 second intervals.
  23. Top with sprinkles.
  24. Place the donuts around the bottom part of the cake. If they don't stick to the frosting, use a little bit of glaze to stick them onto the cake.
  25. Serve at room temperature
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Recipe inspired by Sprinkle Bakes
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Bravetart

Australia

Australia

Australia! I went there and now I want to move there. I drank flat whites like it was my job, ate my weight in Tim Tams, and finally got my hands on some of those pretty sprinkles I’ve been eyeballing on Aussie food blogs. Rather than gushing about my love for Australia and using the word “amazing” more times than the Bachelor, I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. Most of these are from a food photography workshop I attended in Sydney with Luisa Brimble and Sneh Roy. If you make it all the way to the end, I may even have a recipe for you.

Australia

I did not have a bad cup of coffee while I was here. I had better coffee at the airport here than I do at most gourmet coffee shops in the US.

Australia
Sprinkles

Here are some of the workshop pics. Sneh welcomed us with all the tea and coffee we could drink, and of course, cake!

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop-16

She has the most amazing collection of props I have ever seen.

Food Photo Workshop

Luisa discusses how she captures hands in photography…

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop

…and shows us how she gets her stunning tablescape shots.

Food Photo Workshop

This delicious lunch was cooked by Sneh, along with the beautiful carrot cake.

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop

Yay, you’re still here! Ok, here’s the recipe that wasn’t enough of a recipe to warrant a separate post. Lemon Lime Bitters is as authentically Australian as Vegemite, but tastes way better. I drank these things like they were going out of style.
You’ll need:
An glass full of ice.
5-6 dashes of Angostura Bitters
An ounce of limeade or sweetened lime juice (homemade or store-bought)
Lemon-lime soda (I used Zevia to cut back on the sugar)
Stir everything together and enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

If this blog accurately reflected the amount of biscotti that has come out of my kitchen in the last couple of months, I would have to seriously consider changing my blog name to The Biscotti Merchant. A couple of months ago, I made this Vegan Almond Biscotti and have been obsessed with finding a chocolate version that I like just as much. I found a ton of different recipes to try. Some used eggs, others just the whites. Some used oil, some used butter, some used both and others used none. I wasn’t sure how these ingredients affected the final texture, so like an obsessive baking weirdo, I just tested them all. I’m not even kidding, but I’ve literally made about 20 batches of biscotti in the last few months.

The good news is, I found a favorite! By far, the winner was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Biscotti. It calls for whole eggs but no butter or oil. It’s crunchy enough to be distinguishable as biscotti and not just a biscotti shaped cookie, but it’s not so hard that it will break your teeth. The best part is that these biscotti get better with age. I actually liked them better on day 3 than when they were freshly baked.

I decided to veganize David Lebovitz’s original recipe by replacing the egg with a chia egg, although you can use a regular egg in this if you prefer (you’ll just need to omit the water). I also replaced some of the flour with leftover hazelnut meal from making hazelnut milk, but you could also use almond or pecan meal in its place. This recipe makes a small batch of biscotti, but can easily be doubled.

Oh, and I don’t want to sound like Ina or anything, but use good cocoa powder, The majority of the flavor in these biscotti comes from the cocoa powder. My absolute favorite brand is Valrhona which I’ll splurge on once in a while, but I usually use Cacao Barry, which is a little more reasonable and also excellent quality.

Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Yield: 8-10 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup good quality Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts, divided
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking soda, and salt. If your hazelnut meal is clumpy, you can pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of the water and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  4. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir gently to combine. Add the remaining tablespoon of water as needed until the dough just comes together without getting too sticky.
  6. Add about 2/3 of the chopped hazelnut and the mini chocolate chips and gently knead them into the dough with your hands.
  7. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle (about 2 1/2 inches wide) and press the remainder of the hazelnuts on top of the dough.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until the dough is firm.
  9. Cool the biscotti on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  10. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  11. Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes on each side.
  12. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
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Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz