I am not a coffee drinker; not that I haven’t tried to be. Every now and again I’ll grab a tall coffee from Starbucks and drink it down. What inevitably happens is similar to what one might experience when taking speed...in short I can’t intake caffeine without going crazy. My heart feels big and beats really fast, I get hot and shaky. I don’t like it. This recipe is a way for me to enjoy the flavour of coffee without all the insanity involved. The flavour of the coffee really shines and there is an underlying element of toasted almond. The caramel almonds look like pieces of blown glass with their amber peaks and the Ganache is not only delicious but shiny and sleek. For this recipe I chose to make cupcakes, mini cupcakes and a mini loaf but you can use it for a layer cakes as well. This recipe will make approximately 1 ½ dozen regular sized cupcakes.
Coffee and Caramel Almond Cakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs, 1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup strong cold coffee
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast your almonds in the oven for 5 minutes. Once cooled chop the nuts by hand or in a food processor into a coarse crumb.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or using a hand blender. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the eggs and egg yolk. Add the vanilla and scrape down the bowl again. Blend the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Alternating, slowly add the flour and coffee. Scrape down the bowl and add the almonds.
Grease your pans and line with muffin cups if using. Fill the cups ¾ full and bake until lightly browned and a knife comes clean when inserted into the top.
Cooking times will vary depending on the size of muffin tin / baking pan you are using. Mini muffins will bake in approximately 15 minutes
Standard muffins will bake in approximately 20-25 minutes
Mini loaf pans and 7” cakes will bake in
about 30-35 minutes
8 oz dark chocolate
3/4 cup 35% cream
1 tbsp butter
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan bring the cream to just a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for a few minutes before stirring. Add the butter and stir. Let cool.
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ + 2 tbsp water
Using the sharp ends of the skewers, stab the middle of the almonds.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar but once the mixture starts boiling, do not stir, instead occasionally swirl the caramel in the pan. Allow to boil until the caramel turns a light amber colour. If sugar crystals start to form on the sides of the pan use a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve them. Once the caramel is the desired colour, place the pan in the sink or large bowl filled with chilled water.
Place a heavy cutting board on the edge of your table and lay a tea towel or papers on the floor under the cutting board. The cutting board will hold the finished almonds. After about 10 minutes test the caramel by dipping one of the almonds; the caramel should hang in a long string from the almond. Dip the almonds in the cooled caramel placing the finished skewers under the edge of the cutting board to hold them. If the caramel cools too quickly before you are finished dipping all your almonds, you can re-warm it on the stove over low heat.
Dip the cooled cupcakes in the Ganache and
once it has set, top with a caramel almond.
If not serving immediately store in the fridge without the almonds (the
caramel will melt in the fridge).