Wake Up and Smell The Coffee (And Chocolate) On Valentine’s Day

Coffee and chocolate -- a perfect match.

Coffee and chocolate — a perfect match.

 

Not quite tall, but definitely dark and handsome, this cake is the perfect companion for Valentine’s Day.

“Double Chocolate Espresso Wake-Up Bread” is from the new “The Everyday Baker” (Taunton Press), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Abigail Johnson Dodge, a baking expert and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine. It’s filled with 176 recipes for sweet and savory treats, as well as plenty of technique tips, including how to judge the best ripe banana for making banana bread, assembling and filling pastry bags, shaping baguettes like a pro, and fastest way to pick leaves off thyme stems.

EverydayBaker

The recipes are perfect for the home-cook who wants to make something pleasing but doesn’t want to spend three days doing so. Enjoy everything from “Make-Ahead Chocolate French Toast” and “Salted Caramel-Toffee Icebox Cake” to “Goat Cheese Olive Spirals” and “Black Pepper Cream Crackers.” Each recipe also includes “Twists” — recommendations for changing-out the flavor of each or re-sizing it.

This particular recipe may be called a bread, but it’s really full-on cake.

Although the list of ingredients might seem long, it’s no harder to make this than a pan of brownies. You don’t even need an electric mixer.

The batter is full of cocoa powder, chunks of dark bittersweet chocolate, and a big pinch of ground coffee. The glaze is just confectioners’ sugar mixed with a little brewed coffee.

The result is a moist, rich cake with a deep, bitter chocolate-y edge. The coffee is not overpowering. You taste it in the glaze, but in the cake, itself, it merely plays up the sophistication of the dark chocolate.

It’s the perfect grown-up Valentine’s Day treat.

Almost as easy to make as a pan of brownies.

Almost as easy to make as a pan of brownies.

Start the morning -- or end the evening -- with this.

Start the morning — or end the evening — with this.

Double Chocolate Espresso Wake-Up Bread

(Serves 10)

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, or heavy cream, or a combination of two

For the bread:

Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter plus flour, for preparing the pan

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy

1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon finely ground espresso or coffee beans

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

1/4 cup neutral oil (safflower, canola, vegetable, or corn)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet, or white)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the glaze: Put the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee, liqueur, or heavy cream in a small bowl and stir with a spoon. Add more coffee, liqueur, or cream, a little at a time, until the glaze is smooth, very thick, and shiny. Set aside.

Make the bread: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground espresso, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Put the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a small bowl (or measure the buttermilk and oil in a 2-cup glass measure and add the eggs and vanilla) and whisk until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients along with the chopped chocolate and melted butter. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 42 minutes.

Move the pan to a rack and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Run a knife between the bread and the pan to loosen the bread. Invert onto a rack and lift off the pan. Invert the bread into another rack so that the top if facing up and let cool until just warm, 20 to 30 minutes.

Scrape the glaze onto the center of the bread, and using a small offset spatula, spread the glaze over the top to within 1 inch of the edges. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

From “The Everyday Baker” by Abigail Johnson Dodge

 

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And: Coffee Chip Cookies

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And: Espresso Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

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More Abigail Johnson Dodge Recipes: Uncomplicated Fruit-Topped Yellow Cake

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And: 10-Minute Mocha Pots de Creme

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