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Espresso Cake with Hot Kahlua Syrup
Great Cakes

by Carole Walter, 1991, Clarkson N. Potter

Alibris

“Roasted espresso beans are sold whole or ground in vacuum-packed
cans. For instant espresso, the beans are ground into a highly concen-
trated powder. Substituting regular coffee crystals for espresso powder
is not a good idea; the flavor will be much weaker.
Chocolate and lemon have an affinity with espresso, as does coffee
liqueur. This sophisticated cake is enhanced with all three. The batter
contains a touch of cocoa and a bit of lemon rind, and the baked cake
is moistened with Kahlua liqueur. The embellishments suggested [in
the cookbook] for serving are not essential – the cake and syrup are
wonderful without further adornment...”

Serves: 8 to 10
Pan: 9-inch fluted ring (10-cup capacity)
Pan prep: Butter/flour
Oven temp: 350 degrees F
Rack level: Lower third
Baking time: 55 to 65 minutes
Method: electric mixer

The cake:
3 tablespoons instant espresso
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened
cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated
lemon rind [zest]
1 1/2 cups superfine or strained sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

The hot Kahlua syrup:
2/3 cup Kahlua or Tia Maria liqueur
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons honey

1. Position rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch fluted ring. Dust the pan with all-purpose flour, then
invert the pan over the kitchen sink and tap to remove excess.
2. To make the cake: In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso in boiling
water. Stir in the cold water and set aside to cool.
3. Using a triple sifter, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and
salt. [If you do not have a triple sifter, sift the dry ingredients together
three times.] Set aside.
4. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and put them and the lemon rind
[zest] in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with beaters of
paddle attachment. Soften on low speed, then increase speed to
medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about
1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
5. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes
to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
6. Add the eggs, 1 at a time a 1-minute intervals. Blend in the vanilla
and sour cream. The mixture will look somewhat curdled at this
point. This is okay.
7. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add the dry ingredients alter-
nating with the espresso, dividing the dry ingredients into three
parts and the espresso into two parts, starting and ending with
the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape
the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface
with the back of a tablespoon. Center the pan on the rack
and bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or
until the  cake begins to come away from the sides of the
pan and a twig of straw or a toothpick inserted into the
center comes out dry.
9. Remove from the oven. Set the pan on a cake rack for 10 to
15 minutes to cool slightly.
10. To make the syrup:
In a small saucepan blend the Kahlua,
water, and honey. Bring to a slow boil and simmer 2 to 3
minutes. Remove from heat. Pierce the top of the cake with
a wooden skewer and slowly spoon the hot syrup over the
top of the hot cake. Let stand in the pan for at least 1 hour
to allow cake to absorb all the liqueur, then invert onto a
rack and remove pan.

Storage: Store at room temperature under a glass
dome or in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
 

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