“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
~ Gustav Mahler
When I need a yummy cake in a hurry this is the first recipe I think of: Nana’s Quick Coffee Cake.
My nana was a plain cook, but her food was delicious. Her Quick Coffee Cake is everything a coffee cake should be – moist, buttery, flavoursome, made with everyday ingredients from the pantry – and it’s simple enough to be whipped up in minutes (plus baking time).
Nana used to make an un-iced version of this cake that my Pa would have with his morning cuppa. If visitors were coming Nana always added a sweet coffee glaze on top, just to fancy things up.
I learned to bake this cake when I was about seven – old enough to reach the kitchen bench and to work the oven without setting the house alight. This cake is a recipe that Gran Heppell (my paternal great-grandmother) taught Nana when she was just a girl. The recipe lives in my head now after making it so many times, but when I was younger I was also careful to write it down. Just in case.
I’ve given two versions for the icing (frosting for the non-Australians!) Mine is made with maple syrup, because it gives a great complimentary flavour, but Nana’s coffee glaze is delicious too.
Ingredients for cake:
- 100g butter, softened
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 flat teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in one teaspoon of boiling water (if you can be bothered – I never am)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
Ingredients for icing/frosting:
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon soft butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup OR one to two tablespoons strong hot coffee
- 1/3 cup pecans – chopped
- Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
- Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
- Add all cake ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Mix for three minutes on medium speed.
- Spread the batter into your cake tin and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and then check. Cake is baked if it springs back when touched in the middle, or if a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave a little longer if not quite done.
- Remove cake from oven. Cool in tin for five to ten minutes and then place onto a rack to cool completely.
- Place cake on serving plate.
- To make the icing (frosting) sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the softened butter and either the maple syrup or the coffee. Beat well until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Spread onto the cooled cake. Dipping your knife in hot water will help give a smooth and shiny finish as you spread the icing (frosting) mixture.
- If you are making the maple icing, chop some pecan nuts and sprinkle over the icing, pressing them slightly with your clean hand to ensure that they stick to the cake.