Monday, 17 September 2007

Coffee Cake (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

Perhaps we pass on addiction with our genes, or perhaps we learn it when we’re young, but whatever the reason, I’m addicted to coffee. My Mum used to drink a lot of coffee, I’d watch her sip it and visibly relax. She took it strong, with a bit of milk and no sugar. She’d drink half a cup, get distracted, and then come back to the coffee later and down it quickly, like a shot. I remember trying some of the cold stuff once, and asking her why she liked it. ‘Oh I don’t know, I don’t want to waste it, and it still tastes good when it’s cold’. Methinks there spoke a true coffee addict.

Like my Mum, I have not really gained control of the day, or my humour, until I’ve had my hit of coffee. I spent lots of sleep-deprived, small baby years glugging Lattes, but now I take it strong, short and black. With a good hit of sugar. It’s a delicious morning ritual that makes the school run go with a swing.

I’ve owned various flash coffee machines with frother function or Cappuccino making device, but they’ve always malfunctioned at some point and I’ve marched them back to the shop in disgust. I need a high output, durable machine that can cope with being bashed around the kitchen as I scream at small children to eat their breakfast.

So nowadays my skinning up tool of choice is a Bialetti. A marvellous, robust, simple device; pretty much nothing can go wrong. I like the ritual of unscrewing it, tapping the coffee container on the edge of the bin, scraping out the grounds, rinsing, spooning in the fragrant dark elixir, screwing it all back up and lighting the gas. When it’s making a bubbling noise and the fumes are wisping from the spout, lean right in and inhale.

On Sunday I was in a thoughtful mood. I thought of coffee, cake and my Mum. I thought of her as I ran a race. It was not a long race, just 6.5km, but as part of the registration fee went towards breast cancer research and support, I ran it in some small way to fight the disease that killed her.

I ran with 10, 921 other women, and a few odd men in drag. I’d had to forego my morning coffee (you don’t want to get caught short when you’re running), but the adrenaline buzz as we fidgeted at the start line was almost as good. I ran past a woman running the race ‘Pour Thérèse’, past one who was running it for ‘Derek’ and past countless other women who were running it to raise money for cancer-fighting charities. For a short time, we were sisters fighting a disease that threatens us all.

I should add that this sisterly love expired within minutes of crossing the line. As our heart rates headed south, we were handed a garland. We giggled at each other, and smiled supportively as we took a rose that was also a freebie. Next they gave us a bag with an energy bar and some goodies, but by now the bottleneck was growing and the women were getting weary. As we neared the free bananas and water the façade was crumbling and when we got to within grabbing distance, it was almost girl on girl action as the heat, irritation and the need to hydrate got the better of us.

Once clear of the crowds, I met up with my lovely friends, we quaffed some self-congratulatory champagne and then headed to a café. I had an espresso chaser, and then a bit more champagne. All in all a pretty good way to spend a morning. When I got home I iced this cake.

The cake is for my Mum.
She put coffee cake in my lunchbox and taught me never to go out in my slippers.
She told me not to buy shop-bought cakes and to ‘pull that tummy in!’.
She told me she wouldn’t die before I grew up.
She got that last bit wrong.

As Mr Bialetti might say, ‘Arriverderci, Mamma’
Coffee Cake for Mum
This is not a fluffy cake for the girls, but a good, filling, woman of a cake. The icing separates slightly, and the coffee essence gets absorbed into the sponge...ahhhh, bliss.
To make this cake using wheat flour, replace the Orgran flour with wheat flour. If the mix seems a little thick at the end, add a touch more rice milk.
110g sugar
110g golden syrup
1 tsp Orgran no egg egg replacer (mixed up with coffee solution, see below)
2 tbsps ground linseeds (mixed with coffee solution, see below)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g banana (mashed)
coffee solution 100ml water mixed with 6 tsps instant coffee
100ml warmed rice milk
For the icing:
300g icing sugar
200g dairy free spread
20-30ml hot water mixed with 4 heaped tsps instant coffee
about 2 squares of gluten free dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • Mix the tsp of 'no egg' with the ground linseeds and 50ml of the coffee solution. Set aside
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • Grease two 20cm round sandwich cake tins, and line the base with baking parchment
  • Melt the dairy free spread, sugar and golden syrup in a large saucepan
  • Add the 'no egg' and linseed mix to the saucepan and stir
  • Add the mashed banana. Stir
  • Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix well
  • Add the rest of the coffee solution
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda to the warmed rice milk, add it to the pan and mix until everything is well combined
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and place in the oven
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, but check after about 15 minutes
  • When they have risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean, take them out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin
  • You could probably brew some coffee at this point
  • When the cakes are cold, turn them out onto a cooling rack. If you wrap them up well, they'll keep for at least a day until you get around to icing them
For the icing:
  • Mix the water and coffee together, set aside to cool
  • Put the dairy free spread into a large mixing bowl
  • Sieve in the icing sugar and mix until it is a smooth paste
  • Add the coffee teaspoon by teaspoon, check the taste, you might not want it as strong as I like it
  • Place one half of your cake top down onto your serving plate. Spread half the icing over the cake and sandwich the other half on top
  • Use the rest of the icing to cover the top of the cake
  • Grate the chocolate over the top to give it a bit of a 'moka' feel
  • Buon appetito!
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Potty Mummy said...

Dear PITK,

unfortunately coffee the drink disagrees with me, but have always been a coffee cake addict (mix anything with butter and sugar and it improves, I find). Thanks for the recipe; as I eat it I will think how lucky my sister, mother and I have been to - so far - escape the disease that afflicted my grandmother, and killed her sister and mother.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello Potty Mummy, at least you manage to get your coffee fix somehow! I agree, we should be grateful for the time we have, and think of those that have moved on.

Marianne said...

Yes, I remember as a child always going for the coffee cream when a box of chocolates was opened. Pickled onions were another big favourite, although I've moved on to pickled pears now. More sophisticated.

Well done for running for charity and sad that your Mum didn't see what a splendid daughter she now has.

Akelamalu said...

I only drink decaff tea and coffee now, except for one cappuccino a day - and I so look forward to it. :)

Mya said...

I love those Bialetti coffee makers - the simpler the design the better, less to go wrong. My sister runs a similar race in London, wearing only a bra, I think. Well, I'm sure she wears other stuff too - or she'd be arrested. You always write very movingly about your family - I hope they appreciate you too.

Cake looks scrumptious.

Mya x

mutterings and meanderings said...

Well done Pig. It killed my nanna too. It is a truly evil disease.

debio said...

Well done, PITK, well done.

Your description of the way your mother drank a cup of coffee is so moving - such memories. And her advice - all you ever need to know apart, of course, when we have to say goodbye.

Very moving.

Suffolkmum said...

I'm sorry she got the last bit wrong. Very moving tribute. Hideous disease, one of my closest friends is suffering at the moment. I have to say I can't stand coffee - gives me the most godawful headache, as does plain chocolate. So it's tea and dairy milk for me, how unsophisticated!

Rebecca said...

Sounds like your mum was marvellous!

I too like making my coffee in those things* that you put on the stove top. And you're right, they are TOUGH.

Mine doesn't say Bialetti?? Is that a brand name - or the actual name for that type of coffee maker?

Mrs Steinway said...

Another lovely blog and recipe. Congratulations on the run - hope your trotters have fully recovered!It's only now that I'm a Mum that I really appreciate all that they did/do for us. I'm sure your Mum would be very, very proud of her piglet. I still miss our mad conversations over coffee - come back soon so we can have some more!
Remember the coffee morning when we first met....?!

Reluctant Memsahib said...

Well done Pig. The cake, the run, the beautiful post: funny, delicious, brave and sad. very sad.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Ah PITK, this was such a wonderful heartfelt post and a great tribute to your mum. It shows just how truly gifted you are, your mum would be proud!

As for coffee, I'm right with you (though probably an hour behind truth be told). I have a few of those coffee makers, one of which was given to me as a teenager from a dear, but batty old friend of my grandmothers. At the time I didn't have a clue what it was or what to do with it. She told me one day when I moved out of home (which was with my grandmother) it would bring me years of pleasure. She was right and I'm not good until I've had my hit from it in the morning.

Big hug x

Stay at home dad said...

I agree with Marianne and long may you and Potty prosper...

Girl on girl action? Bananas? Blimey. Well done Pig.

Jess Poskozim said...

Oh man, that last part made me teary. I love your mom's view on coffee - I've never minded cold coffee. In fact, with my girls it seems that's the only way I get to drink it! My 18 month old points to the cup and says, "Hot." I think, "if only!"

rilly super said...

my husband went to Paris to run in a race PITK. he said it does seem much further running in kilometres instead of miles. There are so many lovely sights to see in Paris, the smart gendarmes, those big strong CRS chaps, the sapeurs pompiers, sigh, with all that sightseeing I quite forgot to take a photo of him crossing the finsish line on, rather stubbornly I thought, the left hand side of the road. Anyway, well done on raising some much needed euros for the cause and hope your 'girl on girl' mention doesn't attract the wrong kind of visitor dear

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Marianne, yes to coffee creams and big yes to pickled onions. Pickled pears do indeed sound like the height of sophisticaion. Thank-you for lovely compliment...

Akelamalu, oh dear, decaff is wrong on so many levels, but at least you make up for it with the cappuccino!

Mya, Bialetti is the future, you can have that tip for free. Good on your sister, I also wore a bra and persuaded a friend she should too. She tucked her mobile phone into it, what a clever idea! I think my family appreciates me!

M&M, cheers love. Sorry to hear about your Nanna :-(

Debio, hello, thank-you. Her advice was good, although I did go out in my slippers once when I was at uni. I shuffled to the corner shop holding a mug of tea.

Suffolk Mum, very sorry to hear about your friend, I hope she wins the battle. It's all the more tragic when it gets you young. Alas for the coffee, but tea and milk chocolate is a lovely mix!

Hello Rebecca, Bialetti is the brand. I've tried others but they've always broken, yours must be made of STERN stuff!

Hello Mrs S, thank-you for kind comments. Trotters fully recovered. So true that we understand our Mums better once we've had our own bairns. I do hope she would be proud of me. Also miss the coffee chez toi, and still shudder at the memory of that first ever coffee morning!

Reluctant M, thank-you, and yes, there are sad days.

Amanda @LF, thank-you, I'm blushing. What a lovely story about your coffee maker, what a wise friend!

SAHD, thank-you for prospering wishes. Slightly worried that you linked the bananas with the girl on girl action, that must be a man's brain. I can assure you that the banana was for eating!

Jess, you are a bigger woman than me, I only do cold coffee in a cake! And very true that you never get to finish a drink with toddlers around, maybe that's why I drink espresso, a couple of gulps and you're done!

Rilly Super, did your husband go to run the half marathon? I may have been shoulder to shoulder with him (but probably not, I ran very slowly!). Great observations about the must-see sights of Paris, especially the Sapeur-Pompiers, always a treat when the weather is hot and they have to wear just their tight t-shirts with their even tighter trousers tucked into their manly boots...
I thought my computer might close itself down when i did a search for images of girl on girl action, and perhaps I'll pull in some dodgy types, but you know, you have to take the sightmeter hits where you can get 'em.

rilly super said...

he ran the whole 42kms PITK. He still wistfully remembers standing on the Champs Elysees early that drizzly sunday morning wearing a bin bag and huddling for warmth around the eternal flame. It was a while ago now and he's got over being annoyed that I refused to sit with him on the eurostar coming home; he just couldn't understand how I couldn't be seen with anyone wearing a tracksuit you see. Men eh, sigh...

Lunar said...

Beautiful and deeply touching post PITK. Alas I have no memories of my mum, manic depression took her when I was very young. I will make this cake and eat it with my daughters,and we'll think of our dear friend Gill who never made it past 34, due to a rare for of genetic cancer, but packed a lifetime into those years she had:) She gave us a great gift. I'll think of my mum and your post at the same time, enjoy my coffee the same way as yours, and wriggle my healthy toes in my blue fluffy toe cosies:) Cheers m'dear

Frog in the Field said...

Oh Pig!
Congratulations on your run, your Mum would be very proud, I'm sure.

On a lighter note, I'm willing to share my Mum with you? Don't worry, she won't embaress you at all by showering you with expensive gifts.....please??

lady macleod said...

What a touching and lovely post Piggy. You tugged at my heart. I think if not your financial contribution, your intention will be the death of this disease.

I am not a coffee person in the same sense but I love the smell. I keep an open bag always in the refrigerator.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Well done on completing the run. Breast cancer is in my family too - a cousin died two years ago, another cousin is doing fine after treatment, a niece has recently had a partial mastectomy and my sister (niece's mother) found she had the disease in its very early stages so, fingers crossed, she caught it early enough.
As for coffee, I drink far too much when I'm at work but it gets me through the day!

Brom said...

Nice post Pig. I was sorry to read about your mum, I can sympathis after going through something similar myself but for different medical reasons.

I like to start the day with tea, however, when those caffene pangs strike, coffee becomes the drink of preference!

Tattie Weasle said...

For me it's tea - that first cuppa it really does make you relax! So glad you did the run - Mum did hers with her mates as well and hopefully raised a few bob for Breakthough Cancer (I think). She's in remission now ... going to try out the cake - always had a weakness for coffee cake esp when visiting Betty's in Northallerton when I was little!

Mya said...

Hi Pig,
There's an award waiting for you over at my place - that's if you want it!

Mya x

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Rilly, he is more of a man than me, belated congrats. And fully understand about the tracksuit...the bin bag would have been a better option.

Lunar, I'm very sorry to hear about your mum. Sometimes other people's stories put my own tribulations into perspective. Enjoy the cake and coffee, and I'm all for packing our lives full before we die. x

FITF, is it a full refund if i'm not satisfied with your mum??!!

Lady M, i hope you're right and that they'll find a cure soon. What a great idea keeping an open bag of coffee in the fridge!

AMKT, wow, that's lots of people affected in your family, fingers crossed.x

Thank you kind Brom and long live coffee

Tattie Weasle, welcome! You're right, a cup of tea does have its place, usually as a hangover cure for me. Go! your mum go! really good she's in remission. Ahhh Betty's! I occasionally visited the Ilkley branch whilst studying ooop north.

mya, you are spoiling me! I'm on my way!

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