It was around 1 in the morning, and the pantry was a bit sparse: a box of instant coffee, half a bag of chocolate chips, and a tin full of Pirouette cookie crumbs. My friend Veda and I decided to bake a cake – and that’s how this mocha marble cake was born. This was not just any old cake, this was the best cake I’ve ever eaten.
Not that it’s surprising, as I love coffee in my desserts almost as much as I love cinnamon (tiramisu, affogato, coffee milkshakes… I could go on and on!). But something about the combination of sleep deprivation, Nestle coffee granules, and a tin full of cookie crumbs made this cake absolutely magical. It is a buttery marble cake, with beautiful, billowing swirls of mocha (as opposed to traditional chocolate) slathered in a rich, fluffy icing with rich notes of both chocolate and coffee, and coated with crushed up Pirouette cookies (those delicate, pastry cookies filled with hazelnut crème). Everything from the moist, rich, buttery crumb, to the creamy, coffee-infused frosting is pure perfection.
So tell me, what is the best cake you’ve ever eaten?
erica’s mocha marble cake with pirouette cookies:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup boiling water + 3 tsp instant coffee granules (or 1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
4-4 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp cocoa powder
Optional: Hazelnut Pirouette cookies to decorate
Preheat oven 350°F, grease and line the base of two 18cm round cake tins with baking paper (I used mini cake tins and altered the baking time). Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and use a whisk to combine, set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Place 1/3 of the mixture in a separate bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the cocoa, instant coffee granules and 1/4 cup of boiling water, whisking until it is smooth add the chocolate chips (it’s OK if they don’t entirely dissolve). Gently mix into the separated bowl of cake batter until combined. Spoon half the vanilla batter and half the mocha batter into the prepared cake tin, and the other half of each batter into the other prepared tin, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and mocha to simulate a checkerboard. Run a table knife through the batter in each tin to create a swirl effect. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack. They can be made the night before assembly, wrapped in plastic and put in the fridge
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the coffee granules, cocoa powder, milk and vinegar. With the mixer on low, gradually add icing sugar until combined, then increase speed and gradually add coffee mixture. Beat on high until fluffy and well-combined. You may need to add more sifted icing sugar if your icing is too runny. It should be easy to spread but stiff enough to hold its shape.
assembling the mocha marble cake:
If the cake layers are domed in the center, use a serrated knife to level the tops of the cake.you Place one cake layer on your cake stand and use a spatula to smooth a layer of icing over the top of it. Sandwich other cake layer on top and then crumb coat the whole cake with more icing. Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set the crumb coat. Frost the cake evenly with the rest of the icing, using an offset spatula to smooth the surface (running the spatula until hot water will help with smoothing it). Decorate as you like (I coated mine entirely with crushed up Pirouette cookies, I absolutely love their hazelnut cream flavor!).
inspired by Raspberri Cupcakes