Better than Coffee Cake

It started with a cup of coffee. I don’t usually drink the stuff, and especially not in the afternoon, but I got a little crazy today around 1:00 and decided to brew a cup. I tend to take my coffee with a small shot of cream, no sugar, but for some reason I wanted just the tiniest amount of sweetness in my coffee today. I pulled out a jar of sucanat, which is dried cane juice that I keep around for lightweight sugar when I go backpacking. I decided I didn’t want to dirty up a spoon and that I would tap the jar ever so lightly above my cup to let just a few grain down. Oops! Guess I tapped too hard! The sucanat rushed out.

I took a sip and was instantly transported to my childhood. My dad used to take his coffee with lots of sugar and sometimes after he left for work my mom would let me have some of what he left behind. It was a happy memory, but not so happy that it could actually induce me to choke down a full cup of the stuff. I set the mug aside and decided to make up some kind of spice cake with it this evening.  I have just taken my experimental cake out of the oven, and I must say it ranks pretty high up on my list of baking successes. Here’s roughly what I did.

Sift together:
1.5 C. white flour
1/2 C. wheat germ
1/2 C. oat bran
3/4 C. buckwheat flour
1/4 C. whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 T. cocoa powder

Set aside. In a small sauce pan combine 2 T. flax seeds and 3/4 C water. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two, then run in blender on high until you get a frothy gooey mess that looks totally unappetizing (don’t be fooled). Instead of this flax seed concoction, you could probably use a couple eggs. Not only was I out of eggs, but I think that the flax seeds make baked goods lighter and fluffier and give an interesting subtle wholesome flavor.

In a separate bowl combine:
The flax seed mixture
1/4 C molasses (or maple syrup if you want something sweeter)
1.5 C very sweet coffee with a small amount of cream in it
1/2 C melted butter

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and combine in a few swift strokes. Turn into a greased bread pan. Place in 375-degree oven for 45 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and let cool–if you can. I always cut into my baked goods long before they’ve cooled. Note that I tend not to like things that are very sweet at all, so most people could at least double the amount of sugar to suit their palates, and you have a real sweet tooth, you could add even more. But try to use less sugar rather than more, because I think if this were very sweet you would lose the delicate interplay of the cocoa, cinnamon, cardamom and coffee.

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3 Responses to “Better than Coffee Cake”

  1. jessica Says:

    amazing piece of work. the cake was good too.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Holy coffee that sounds amazing!

  3. erstwhile luddite Says:

    Thanks guys! Now that I’ve been eating it some today, I do think it is probably not nearly sweet enough for most folks, so I would think most people would want to add at least a 1/2 Cup of maple syrup and maybe even ice it with cream cheese frosting.

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