There is such hope and promise that comes with a new calendar month.

When August turns to September and the promise of Autumn seems almost possible, I find myself wanting so much more out of the company I keep and the meals I make.  September is nothing more than a tease, really – bringing with it just as warm days as the peak of sweaty summer time.  Respite from the humidity seems so close – and yet it will be weeks before I am feeling that cozy, need to bake flurry and surrender to the falling leaves glory of October.

Autumn and October ‘will’ arrive, though.  Just as they do every year.

Today I decided to put desires into action, and barely pottered over this tasty little cake.  It gave me everything I was looking for – lazy time spent in the kitchen, depth of flavour, and a much needed caffeine boost.

I say lazy time in the kitchen because this cake couldn’t be any simpler to make.  With a freestanding mixer I can let the egg and sugar whir up into a foamy pillow while walking away to do other things – a bonus when you are as distracted as I am these days.  The depth of flavour comes from the dark chocolate, espresso powder and Kahula drizzle while still warm.


It is crackly, fudgy, chocolate laden deliciousness.
While it likely won’t win any beauty contests, believe me when I say that you ‘want’ to make this cake.

Chocolate Espresso Cake with Cafe Latte Cream
From Nigella Lawson’s Feast.

For the cake:
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick, plus 3 TBS. butter
6 eggs
1 1/4 c. superfine sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 c./4 TBS. Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur

For the Cafe Latte Cream:
3 oz. white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
scant 2 tsp. instant espresso powder

Take anything you need out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. The only truly important thing, however, is that the eggs aren’t cold, so if they are, just put them into a bowl and cover them with warm water for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and line a 9 inch Springform pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or double boiler and set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussey. They should have at least doubled in volume, even tripled. If you’re using a standing mixer, as I do, this is effortless.

Gently fold in the flour and espresso powder, taking care not to lose the air you have created, and finally add the melted chocolate and butter, folding gently again. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time the top of the cake should be firm, and the underneath still a bit gooey. Immediately pour over the Tia Maria and then let the cake cool completely on a rack before releasing it from the pan.

For the cream, melt the white chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and let it cool. Fold in the cream and espresso powder, whipping the latte cream together to thicken it a little. For some reason the white chocolate seems to make the cream instantly thicker; if I whisk the cream first it can seize a little when it’s stirred into the chocolate.Sit the sprung cake on a plate and fill the middle sunken crate with the cafe latte cream and dust with a little cocoa, or just put the buff-colored cream in a bowl with a spoon, to serve alongside the cake, dusting or not with cocoa or, indeed, instant espresso powder or a mixture of both, as you wish.

* I used Kahula to douse the cake after baking.

* I only had my 10 inch Springform pan at home, so I used that instead.  It resulted in a slightly lower cake, but still as delicious.