Sunday, May 12, 2013


Coffee and Donuts Cake

It seems I have made it my personal mission to create cohesive marriages between foods that are separate entities, but are commonly eaten together.

Coffee, do you take Donuts to be your lawfully wedded wife(s)?  Of course you do.  You were made for each other!

The idea for this cake first came to me when I found this recipe, originally from Gourmet magazine. I figure 1389 reviewers can't be wrong.  If a whopping 91% would make it again, then I should at least try it once.  I'm happy to report I'll be adding my 4-fork review very soon!  The cake batter gets a good dose of brewed coffee, so I began searching for a complimentary coffee buttercream icing.  Amongst the searching I found a new baked donut recipe I was eager to try.  I decided to combine everything together in one big over-the-top cake - and what better pairing than coffee and donuts (...and chocolate cake and buttercream icing)?

The recipe specifies 2- 10" round pans, but I substituted 3- 9" pans.  The layers were still plenty big enough, and I love the added height.

The Swiss buttercream icing is so silky and beautiful. If you've never made Swiss buttercream, I highly recommend you give it a try.  Unlike American butter(cream) icing, it doesn't crust or dry out, which makes it a perfect adhesive for the donuts. 

You'll need a mini donut pan for this recipe, available here.  The donut glaze takes a little while to set, so donuts should be made and glazed ahead of time. They'll need plenty of time to dry before being applied to the cake.  I was surprised at how easily the donuts adhered to the Swiss buttercream.  If you are pressed for time and your donut glaze is a little tacky,  skewers can be used to carefully apply the donuts to the cake.  

The top of the cake gets an extra sprinkling of espresso powder, and the donuts are sprinkled with silver sugar crystals, both available at King Arthur Flour.

(Cute video after the recipe!)

Coffee and Donuts Cake                              [click for printable recipe]
 12 servings

Cake Layers: 

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease pans with shortening. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between 2- 10” pans or 3- 9” pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, approx 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Coffee Buttercream

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

In a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until it registers 240°F on a candy thermometer.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are frothy. While mixer is running, add the sugar syrup in a thin stream, carefully tempering the syrup into the eggs without cooking them.  Beat until it is cool. Change to the paddle attachment and add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add the espresso mixture, and beat until it is light and fluffy.

Mini Cake Donuts (3 dozen)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat milk , egg and vanilla together.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat on low speed to combine.  Stop mixer and pour melted butter over dough.  Mix again until just incorporated. Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into the cavities of a donut baking pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  

Chocolate Glaze for Donuts

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1 tbsp. light corn syrup

Nonpariels or sanding sugar

Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until very hot but not boiling.  Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl then pour hot cream over mixture and stir until smooth.
Quickly dip cooled donut tops into glaze and allow the excess to drizzle back into the bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils. Allow glazed donuts to dry, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Chocolate glaze will darken in color as it cools.


Espresso powder for sprinkling
Decorative large crystal sugar for sprinkling

Frost and stack cake layers.  Press unglazed side of donut gently into the side of the cake.  Repeat with entire batch of 3 dozen donuts.  Sprinkle top of cake with espresso powder and decorative sugar.  Extra donuts can be used to garnish the top of the cake.

Please note, I used the entire batch of 3 dozen donuts for decorating.  You may want to resist snacking on a few donuts while you are making them, or else you may not have enough to complete the cake.

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