Posts tagged ‘Coffee’

Walnut cake feature
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This recipe is inspired by the coffee, cardamom and walnut cake in Fiona Cairn’s beautiful book Seasonal Baking (which I wholeheartedly recommend). I love baking with seasonal ingredients and the caramel and walnut decoration reminds me of golden autumn leaves. This is the perfect cake to have with a warming coffee after a brisk walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon!

In addition to making it dairy-free (of course!) I substituted the buttercream with a soya-based coffee and cardamom cream, which is lighter and less sugar-heavy.

The round and warm scent of cardamom makes a good addition to autumn and winter bakes (have a look at my Swedish cardamom and cinnamon buns). For this recipe you will need the dark brown seeds inside the cardamom pods. Although supermarkets generally sells the green pods, rather than the seeds, there is no need to go through the fastidious process of de-seeding the pods, as the seeds are easily available online, including via Amazon. It is important to ground the seeds immediately before use, to keep their flavour intact.

Ingredients (for 6-8 people)

275g caster sugar
275g icing sugar
175g margarine, plus more for the tin
125g flour
100g walnuts halves
100g ground almonds
3 eggs
6 tsp (about 30 g) freshly ground cardamom
4 tbsp (about 50ml) decaf coffee
3 tbsp (about 40ml) whipped soy single cream
1tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (7gr) baking powder

How to make it

1. Prepare the ingredients: cut 175g margarine in pieces and leave it out to soften; roughly chop 50g walnuts; sieve together 125g flour and 1 bag (7gr) baking powder. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / gas mark 4. Keeping them separate, place both the 50g walnut halves and the 50g chopped walnuts on baking trays and roast for six minutes. Cool.

3. Using a food mixed or an electric whisk, cream together 175g margarine, 175g caster sugar and 1 tablespoon decaf coffee until very light and fluffy. Lightly beat 3 eggs, then add them to the mixture. Gradually add 50g ground almonds and 3 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom. Gently fold in the flour-baking powder mix and 50g chopped walnuts; don’t over-mix.

4. Pour into the tin and bake at 160°C (fan) for 60 min, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

5. Prepare the caramelised walnuts: lay 50g walnut halves on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Put 100g of caster sugar and 100ml of cold water in a saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a gentle heat, stirring with a metal spoon. Increase the heat to a boil, stop stirring and occasionally brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, to prevent crystals forming. Boil until the mixture turns a beautiful caramel gold and has thickened.

6. Have a sink or washing-up bowl of cold water to hand. Plunge the base of the pan into the cold water, then, using a teaspoon, drizzle the caramel over the walnuts on the tray and leave to set.

7. For the coffee and cardamom cream, mix 275g icing sugar (sifted), 50g ground almonds and 3 teaspoons ground cardamom. Using a food mixed or an electric whisk, add 3 tablespoons decaf coffee and 3 tablespoons whipped soy cream. If it is too runny, add more icing sugar. If it is too stiff, add more whipped soy cream, until it reaches the desired texture.

8. When the cake is completely cool, cut it in half horizontally. Spread half of the coffee and cardamom cream over the bottom half, then place one half over the other. Spread the other half of the coffee and cardamom cream on top.

9. Decorate with the caramelised walnuts and the caramel shards. Enjoy!

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Mellqvist Kaffebar 2

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Mellqvist Kaffebar is a small and cosy neighbourhood café on one of the main streets of Södermalm, Stockholm’s coolest district. It is a great place to indulge in the Swedish tradition of fika, taking a break to drink coffee and eat something sweet with a friend.

In addition to the coffee, which is smooth and mellow, people come here for the delicious cardamom buns (kardemummabullar in Swedish), a Swedish fika staple. The weekend brunch is also popular, but there is no real menu – don’t hesitate to ask at the counter.

Once you have grabbed your coffee and bun (and maybe one of the boiled eggs on the side) grab a stool – or better, an outside table if the weather is nice. Then open your copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: besides being one of Stieg Larsson’s favourite places (the writer used to work just above it and is said to have written several pages there) Mellqvist Kaffebar is the location of the book’s final scene.

Judging from the creative types and laptops around, it would appear the literary aura of this café continues.

Hornsgatan 78
118 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone:+46 76 875 29 92
Facebook: MellqvistKaffebar

 

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Oh, how we wish that The Fields Beneath were already there when we were living just around the corner a couple of years ago!

Instead, Gavin and Sibylle opened this café, named after Gillian Tindall’s 1977 book, last October. They brew Butterworth & Son and New Town’s coffee, among others, and serve mum-made cakes, donoughts, soups and sandwiches. Jams by the London Borough of Jam and other delicacies are also available at the counter.

Tucked underneath one of the railway arches of Kentish Town West overground station, TFB caters mostly for commuters and takeaway-lovers. Don’t get rushed, though: the best way of visiting is on your way to Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath on a weekend morning, leaving your bike outside and taking five minutes to linger around and have a chat.

TFB4

We had a seat at the communal table, upcycled from a wooden door, and sipped a refreshing iced latte and a slightly bitter espresso, offset by a truly scrumptious almond and date cake, hand-made by Gavin’s mum.

Although the space is tiny, the high ceiling and big steel-framed window make it light-filled and airy – cosy, rather than cramped. The decoration is spot on: we particularly loved the exposed brick wall and the Spanish tiles (sourced here).

In short: we wish this were our own kitchen. You will too.

MILThe Fields Beneath
52a Prince of Wales Road
NW5 3NL London

Kentish Town West overground or Chalk Farm underground (Northen Line)

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