new year’s eve espresso roulade or coffee cake roll


When I made the bûche de noël for Christmas, I realized what I had really done was make a roulade, otherwise called a cake roll or a Swiss roll. I decided to make it again for New Year’s Eve, but this time I went all out for the coffee flavor. This roulade has a sponge cake base coated with coffee syrup  then filled and frosted with coffee buttercream. My guests commented that the cake was a tad sweet because of the powdered sugar. If you would prefer a less sweet product, I would recommend using unsweetened cocoa to roll up the cake.

First, make the Sponge Cake (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup cake flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting the pan
5 eggs separated when cold then brought to room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons (28g), melted and cooled to room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C

Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour on a parchment lined 12x17x1 inch baking tray. Flip. Brush more melted butter-flour on the other side of the parchment and on the sides of the baking tray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 7-8 minutes. Stop mixer and remove the bowl.

Sift the flour over the egg yolk mixture and gently fold in the cake flour. Don’t over mix.

In another large bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar, beating on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t over mix—the whites should look glossy and smooth, and the peaks should just curl over.

Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 egg whites into egg yolks and flour mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons batter. Gently fold this mixture into the remaining batter, being careful not to deflate the eggs.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula, being sure to get into the corners. Tap pan lightly on counter top to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cake top should spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan 2 minutes. Gently ease a thin blade around the edges of the cake.

Spread a large kitchen towel on the work surface and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Flip cake over on top of the sugar. Remove pan and carefully remove parchment paper. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top. Roll up cake with the towel inside starting from the nearest longer side, and roll away from you. Let cake cool in towel 30-35 minutes.

Then, make the Coffee Syrup (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup espresso coffee (1 teaspoon coffee powder to 1/2 cup hot water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Tia Maria liqueur

In a small saucepan combine the espresso and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a simmer. Let coffee reduce to 1/3 cup, about 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add liqueur. Set aside.

Next, make the Coffee Buttercream (adapted from Food Network)
4 (120g) egg whites, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
340g unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum

Dissolve coffee powder in the rum and set aside.

Put 2 inches of water in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Continue whisking the egg whites until foamy and opaque, and the sugar dissolves. The egg white mixture should be warm to the touch and not at all gritty.

Remove the bowl and attach it to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on high speed 5 minutes until the egg whites have cooled—the bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch—and the meringue holds stiff peaks.

Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the buttercream while the machine is still beating. The buttercream will curdle but keep beating because it will come together, about 1-2 minutes to completely blend in the coffee mixture. Set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate. Before using, let frosting come to room temperature then beat until smooth.

Finally, assemble the roulade

Unroll the cooled cake. Brush off any excess sugar. Dab the coffee syrup all over the cake with a pastry brush. Fill with half the coffee buttercream to about 1/2 inch thickness. Leave a 1 inch border at the longer side opposite you. Roll up again, but not too tightly, and keep the towel on the outside. Chill, seam side down until filling is set, about 30 minutes.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you’re not going to frost right away, wrap the roulade in plastic and refrigerate.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on top or frost with remaining buttercream. Leave the ends unfrosted. Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, trim 1/2 inch from each end to make clean edges. Discard or eat the trimmings!

Refrigerate leftovers. Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Happy New Year everyone!


slovenian potica cake

slovenian potica cake

Pronounced “paw TEET-zha” according to Gourmet magazine, this cake is lightly sweet with a topping and layers of  brown sugar and chopped almonds. One note about sugars. There are a bewildering variety of sugars at the supermarket. The most familiar is granulated sugar, which you can use in baking, but I recommend using superfine or caster sugar because it blends easier into the butter without leaving behind a gritty feel between your finger tips. Then there’s confectioner’s sugar. Also called icing sugar or powdered sugar, it’s great for dusting on cake tops as a quick and elegant finish.  And finally, there are the so-called natural sugars: turbinado and demerara are examples. They make a great crunchy topping for quick breads and coffee cakes, like this potica cake.  In fact, this cake is perfect either as a dessert or breakfast cake.

Slovenian Potica Cake

Prep time: 50 minutes (includes wait time for butter, eggs, and yogurt to come to room temperature, 30 minutes)
Baking time: 45 minutes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sour cream or low fat yogurt, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped almonds (walnuts in original recipe)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Prepare to bake. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease one 10-inch tube cake pan with one tablespoon melted butter brushed on the inside and center tube of the pan.

Mix the batter. In a large bowl, combine  flour with baking powder, baking soda, whisk and set aside. Mix together the sour cream or yogurt and vanilla. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in thirds alternately with half sour cream/yogurt and vanilla, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Bake. In the prepared tube pan, spread 1/3 of the batter in the bottom. Top with 1/3 filling. Drop 1/3 of remaining batter on top in spoonfuls. Spread it with an offset spatula. Top with half of the remaining filling. Finish with remaining batter. Tap pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Sprinkle the rest of the filling on top of the cake. Bake for approximately 35 minutes to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool and serve. Cool cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking pan, 20 minutes. Gently go around the outsides of the cake in the pan with a long thin blade. Since I have a two-piece tube pan, I grasped the center tube with a hot pad and pulled up, removing the sides. Otherwise, invert and tap the cake out out onto a wire rack. The baking pan will catch the bits of sugar and nuts that fall off the top. These, incidentally, make a great snack!  I then removed the center tube by using a skewer to loosen it and a thin spatula to loosen the bottom. Re-invert the cake top-side up.  Cool cake completely. Cut cooled cake  into slices and serve with ice cream, fresh sliced strawberries, or crème fraîche. Or serve with coffee and tea as a breakfast cake.

blueberry and yogurt coffee cake

blueberry and yogurt coffee cake

Strawberries and blueberries are now at Westside Market here in Manhattan, and they are for sale! Berries are a great mid-winter treat. We have been enjoying them with yogurt and honey and whipped up in smoothies. The next logical step in enjoying this bounty is to bake them. I adapted this recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake that I found on Olga’s Home and Garden Blog via Coffee Kingdom. This is a great example of how recipes get swapped on the internet! Because I don’t keep buttermilk on hand, I swapped the two cups buttermilk for 1 cup sour milk and 1 cup yogurt thinned with milk. The original recipe called for a 9×13 inch pan but I swapped it for a tube pan, just to be different! The result was light and not too sweet, with a moist tender crumb. Oh, and one more thing, if you have opened baking powder and baking soda in your cupboard for a year as I have, throw them out and get fresh ones! It’s a new year for baking.

Blueberry and Yogurt Coffee Cake

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 60 minutes

For the cake, have at room temperature:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups white superfine sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour milk
3/4 cup Greek style yogurt (I recommend Fage)
1/4 cup nonfat milk
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I prefer baking with unbleached flour but you can use bleached)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups blueberries

For the topping, have at room temperature:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use one 10-inch tube pan. Do not grease it. Sift together 4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Add 1/4 cup nonfat milk to 3/4 cup yogurt and stir. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Note: To make sour milk, put 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a one-cup measure. Top up with nonfat milk to the one-cup line. Set aside 2 minutes to curdle.

 In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

First add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add 1 cup sour milk, and 1/2 the  remaining flour. Add milk-yogurt mixture and the rest of the flour. After each addition, beat until just combined. Scrape the bowl after beating.  Stir in blueberries by hand. Pour batter into the tube pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup flour and 2/3 cup sugar. Using 2 knives, cut in 6 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle generously over top of batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Test the cake by inserting a cake tester near the center. The tester should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. If there is batter on the tester, bake an additional 5 minutes then test again. Repeat in 5 minute increments, if necessary.

Cool in the tube pan right side up 10 minutes. Insert a thin blade around the sides and remove it. Insert a metal skewer around the center tube. Remove the pan bottom by inserting the blade between the cake and the pan,  pressing away from the bottom. Cool cake thoroughly right side up on a wire cooling rack.

blueberry and yogurt coffee cake

overnight blueberry coffee cake

Overnight Blueberry Coffee Cake (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
After watching Dr. Oz yesterday talk about how much better all natural ingredients are for our bodies, I switched out the sugar substitute and butter flavoring in this recipe for real sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Because of the whole wheat flour and  just 1/3 cup of sugar, this cake is still low in carbs and sugar, in my opinion. The cornmeal also gives it an interesting texture and flavor. Use a fine ground cornmeal like polenta for best results.

Servings: 12-16
Prep Time: 12 hours and 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup canola or almond oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
Ground ginger (optional)

1. Lightly coat one 9 inch square baking dish with a mixture of 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon flour; set aside. In a large bowl stir together pastry flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the baking soda, the 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Cake Baker’s Note: You can use cooking spray but I think the butter-flour trick is foolproof as cooking spray tends to burn in non-stick pans which discolors the exterior of the cake.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together yogurt, egg, oil, applesauce, vanilla and almond extract, until well mixed. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread half of the batter into the prepared dish.
3. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the frozen blueberries. Top with the remaining batter; spread evenly. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.

Cake Baker’s Note: I put it in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Allow the coffee cake to stand at room temperature while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl toss together the remaining 1 cup frozen blueberries, the brown sugar, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm. If desired, serve with whipped topping and sprinkle with additional ginger.