Get a lift with this cappu cake

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I baked this for our weekly Mums & Babies get together, much to the horror of my friends who thought that not a slice would be eaten because of the caffeine content. I decided it was worth the risk (with a veggie back up of carrot cake) because if not much was eaten it would mean more for us over the weekend (peedy grigglets that we are). As it was, the Mums tucked in with gusto and most of the cake was demolished over the few hours that we were together cooing over babies and running after toddlers. We need the energy you see. 

The cake itself comes out light and fluffy, which is a perfect vehicle for the thicker buttercream icing. What really sets it aside however is the topping - a smashed up coffee bean caramel. Chew on the beans at your peril, for they are a pure shot of caffeine but their bitterness carries the sugar attack of the caramel, and it's not as difficult to make as it sounds. Remember the golden rules about caramel: don't stir, and for heaven's sake don't be tempted to dip your finger in it! And then a tip for cleaning the pan: wait for it to cool as it will be very hot after the caramel, and then fill with water and bring up to the boil again. The water will clean the sticky caramel off the pan. 

Enjoy with reckless abandon. And lashings of strong coffee. 


225 gms butter - room temperature
225 gms caster sugar
4 large eggs
50 gms ground almonds
200 gms self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150 ml strong black coffee
2 tbsp Kahlua or milk
Cocoa powder for dusting

1 tbsp coffee beans
100 gms caster sugar

125 gms butter - room temperature
250 gms icing sugar



Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins. 

Cream the butter & sugar together until nice and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, incorporating fully before adding the next egg. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and a pinch of salt until just incorporated. Stir in 100ml of the coffee along with the milk, and then divide the cake mix between the two tins. 

Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. 

Make the caramel by lining a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Arrange the coffee beans on it keeping them quite close together, but haphazard. Place the sugar in a medium-sized, non-stick, pan and shake it into an even layer. Place of over a low-medium heat and slowly melt. DON'T stir - just swirl the pan gently until it's melted and golden, and then pour it over the coffee beans. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and leave to set. 

Make the icing by beating together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining coffee until you have a smooth buttercream icing. If it starts to split, simply add a small amount of icing sugar which should bring it all back together again. 

To assemble place one of the cakes on your serving plate, upside down. Spread half the buttercream icing over it. Top with the second cake (the right way up) and spread the rest of your icing over the top. Bash up the coffee bean caramel into a mixture of fine and chunky pieces and sprinkle over the cake to decorate. Finally, dust with cocoa, and voila! Domestic gods and goddesses step aside: this is the famous cappu cake.