Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Double Glazed Caramel Mocha Bundt #Bundtamonth

Double Glazed Caramel Mocha Bundt is made with cocoa and coffee for a rich mocha cake covered first with caramel glaze and then drizzled with coffee glaze.

Let me start by employing a Texas phrase:  It wasn’t my first rodeo.  My father had lived in Indonesia and Brunei so I was familiar with the five pillars of Islam.  While staying with him, I often woke up to the call to prayer, sat patiently several times a day as sitcoms were interrupted by the televised version of the call to the faithful and dodged mosque traffic and haphazard parking on Friday afternoons.  The Muslims I met were gentle people, slow to anger, quick to commiserate and ever kind. 

But when we arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1987, I hadn’t actually lived through the holy month of fasting, the concentrated, collective weeks of introspection and prayer that are Ramadan.  And I must confess that I didn’t get it even then.  As expats, we went about our daily lives, working only in the morning from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. as businesses were closed in the afternoon.  The only Muslim in my little office was the big boss who actually lived in Oman and just came to visit occasionally.  I’d rush home to prepare the cooler with drinks and barbecue essentials and we would sail off in our small Prindle catamaran to a secluded, deserted island to feast where we would not offend anyone, or be seen flouting the law.  It was against the law to eat, drink or smoke in public, or even to appear to be eating.  I was careful not to chew gum, even in my car, lest the religious police pull me over.

While I always dressed modestly, during Ramadan I was even more careful to make sure knees and shoulders were covered.  After all, as a temporary resident of the UAE, my husband’s work permit and my work permit depended on conforming.  And it was a matter of respect. 

By our second year in Abu Dhabi, I had changed jobs and was in charge of public relations at the InterContinental Hotel.  Of course, tourists don’t stop arriving just because it’s Ramadan.  In fact, special Ramadan rates increased occupancy.  The fasting month is fixed as the ninth month in a lunar calendar so it moves back about 10 days every year in our calendar.  That year it was in April, right around the Easter holidays.  And since it’s still quite cold in the United Kingdom and most of Europe in April, they came in droves and checked into our hotel looking for fun in the sun, food and drink.  Yes, I’m talking alcohol and lavish buffets.

So how do you give people a normal holiday when all the restaurants and bars have to be closed from sunrise to sunset?  You get creative. 

Restaurants were partitioned so that inside sections could be curtained off from the public eye.  A suite on an upper floor was turned into coffee and tea room, including soft drinks and water, free to hotel guests.  And, of course, room service was busier than ever.  

But the biggest change for me was quietly observing the behavior of my Muslim co-workers.  Many, especially the gardeners and maintenance guys, worked their same long hours, despite not drinking or eating (and probably suffering for lack of nicotine!) all day.  I was impressed by their ability, for the most part, to remain cheerful and dedicated to the welfare of our guests.  Hey, I get crabby when I’m hungry and thirsty.  Crabbiness didn’t seem to be an issue here.  I am not saying that fasting was easy for them.  I am just saying that perhaps the burden is eased when you are doing it for a reason you believe in.  I cannot presume to guess. 

Over the past 25 years, I have been invited many times to take part in the sunset meal, called iftar in Arabic speaking countries and buka puasa in Malaysia, to break the daily fast during Ramadan.   It is always an honor. 

Today I’ve got a Bundt cake for you, a pretty dessert for the end of any special meal. You might have guessed from the title that the BundtaMonth theme from our lovely hosts, Anuradha from Baker Street and Lora from Cake Duchess is caramel. You would be right. Be sure to scroll down and see all the other lovely Bundts we’ve baked for you this month. 

And I’d like to say a special thank you to my fellow UAE blogger, +Sally Prosser of My Custard Pie, whose recent Ramadan post started my reminiscing.

Update:  I have received a lot of comments about Ramadan and living in a Muslim country and I am grateful for every one of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts and questions.  I invite you to read a blog post by a fellow blogger who lives in the Boston area but grew up overseas. As a child of Christian missionaries, raised in predominately Muslim Pakistan, she tries to bridge the gap of understanding.  Please read her post here. 

For the cake:
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1/2 cup or 100g dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup or 20g special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel glaze:
1/4 cup or about 60g unsalted butter
1/2 cup or 100g light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup or 80ml heavy cream
1 cup or 125g confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the coffee glaze:
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup or about 60g powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons cream

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Prepare your Bundt pan by rubbing the inside with butter or using a nonstick spray and then coating with a couple of tablespoons flour.  

Combine the flour, cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  In a measuring cup, add the vanilla to your measured milk.  Set both aside. 
Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl.

Beat in the eggs, one at time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.

This one's egg number 3. 

Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add half of the dry ingredients mixture and beat to mix.

Add half of the milk and beat again until mixed.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Repeat the last two steps, using the last half of the dry ingredients and the milk.   Your batter is done! Spoon it into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove your Bundt cake from the oven and allow to cool until the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan a little.  Invert the cake on a wire rack and cool completely before starting to make the glazes.

Once your cake is cool, make the caramel glaze.  First measure and sift your 1 cup or 125g powdered sugar into a heatproof bowl.  

Cut the butter into a couple of pieces and place in a saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt.  After everything melts together, bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.   Boil for a quick minute then remove from the heat.

Pour this into your heatproof bowl with the powdered sugar and stir quickly with a wooden spoon.

Pour the glaze over your cooled cake.   Mine was a little too thick (I suspect I boiled it too long and have adjusted the boiling time here accordingly) so I ended up spreading it around further with a warm knife after pouring.  Do what you need to and make it look pretty.  Allow to set as you make the coffee glaze.

I smoothed it out even more after this. 

Put the powdered sugar for your coffee glaze and the instant coffee granules into a small mixing bowl.  Add two tablespoons of cream and stir vigorously.  I actually used a small, sturdy whisk.

Once thoroughly mixed, lift the whisk out of the glaze to see if it will drizzle successfully.  If it is too stiff, add more cream a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency.  Depending on your instant coffee brand, the granules may take a while to completely dissolve.  Just keep stirring occasionally until they have.

Drizzle the coffee glaze on your cake with a small spoon or use an icing decorator bag and tip (or even a Ziploc bag with a small piece of the corner cut off.)  Allow the glaze to set.


Check out all the other lovely caramel Bundts:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Salted Caramel Macchiato Muffins #MuffinMonday

These Salted Caramel Macchiato Muffins are your favorite Starbucks caramel macchiato in muffin form, dripping with salted caramel. Perfect for that on-the-go breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Food Lust People Love: These Salted Caramel Macchiato Muffins are your favorite Starbucks caramel macchiato in muffin form, dripping with salted caramel. Perfect for that on-the-go breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Every morning of every day, the first thing that passes my lips is a hot cup of coffee, with two teaspoons of creamer and one teaspoon of sugar. When I have time to linger over it, I love nothing more than to hold that cup lovingly near my nose and inhale its delicious aroma. 

Is there anything more delightful than to wake up to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen or even over a camp stove, while you stretch languidly in bed? I think not. (Unless it is the smell of bacon frying in the same situation. But that is a whole other post.)

I give you a coffee haiku.

Precious elixir
My good reason for rising
Coffee, always. Yes!

This week’s Muffin Monday original recipe was for a cappuccino muffin with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Which could already have been perfect. But we all know that I can’t leave well enough alone. 

What would take this muffin to the next level of perfection? The addition of salted caramel sauce, of course. Best of all, you can’t spill this and burn yourself as you travel to work on a busy train or bus or car.  Think of it as your morning coffee made more user friendly. And more delicious. You are welcome. (And don’t even get me started about how great these smell while they are baking! I feel another haiku coming on.)

Salted Caramel Macchiato Muffins

For the caramel sauce, use store bought or make your own from this recipe at Baked Bree, which is what I did. Make the whole batch.  You won’t regret it.  This stuff is great on everything, if you can stop yourself from eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon.)

2 cups or 250g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 170g vanilla sugar (or sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 cup or 240ml milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup or 115g butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
3 1/2 oz or 100g semi sweet chocolate chips
1/8-1/4 cup or 30-60ml salted caramel sauce 

Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C.  Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  

Mix your milk, egg, and coffee granules together.  Stir until coffee is dissolved.  (Don't forget the teaspoon of vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla sugar.)

Add in the melted butter.  Mix well.

Pour coffee mixture into your dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips being careful not to over mix.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Spoon on about half a teaspoon of the caramel sauce for each muffin and swirl with a pointy knife or a toothpick.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.  Let cool five minutes in the muffin pan then place on cooling rack.

 When completely cool, drizzle with extra caramel sauce. 


Need some more muffin recipes?  Of course you do!