When I was young my sister Zoe used to make a great coffee cake. I used to think coffee cake was incredibly sophisticated as a child. Generally in Ireland coffee cakes were not made with coffee. Just absorb that sentence for a second. You have to remember it was the eighties and coffee hadn’t quite taken off. There was literally no such thing as a take-away coffee let alone a grande skinny frappuccino. So, we improvised and coffee cake was usually made with a substance called Irel. This strange brown coffee essence came in a jar and was made from chicory. You will have to take my word for it, but it really tasted like coffee when you cooked it in a cake. It’s so good in fact that many use Irel to make coffee cake in Ireland still. For this Swiss roll cake however, I used instant coffee.
Zoe’s coffee cake is in part what inspired this recipe for my Irish Swiss roll coffee cake. It’s a simple light sponge, patterned with some cocoa colored shamrocks and filled with cream (spiked with Irish whiskey). It’s different to Zoe’s coffee cake, but it’s still a sweet reminder of being a child and eating my sophisticated coffee cake – made without coffee!
It’s a little fiddly to make the shamrock pattern, so if you want to make a simple coffee Swiss roll, you can simply ignore the instructions about creating the pattern- the cake will still taste great.
- 5 eggs, divided into whites and yolks
- 150g of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of coffee granules mixed with one tablespoon of hot water
- 75mls of cream
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 110g of all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon of cornflour
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 175mls of cream
- 2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey
- Preheat the oven to 375F / 190 C.
- Line a baking tray with the paper pattern. (I used a simple shamrock shape and copied it onto sheet of paper to create the pattern).
- Tape the pattern onto the tray, and cover with a sheet of parchment paper. I found it helpful to tape the parchment to the tray as well, so it would be easier to pipe on.
- To make the cake, begin by putting half the sugar and the 5 egg yolks into a large bowl.
- Using an electric beaters, beat until fluffy and pale yellow in color.
- Next, add the coffee, cream, melted butter and beat well.
- Sieve the flour into the mixture, and gently fold to combine. Leave aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric beaters until they are white and foamy.
- Continue to beat and add in the cornflower and the rest of the sugar.
- Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- To make the mixture for the pattern, simply take 3 tablespoons of the egg yolk mixture and add it to 6 tablespoons of the egg whites and mix together in a small bowl.
- Add the cocoa powder to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Put this cocoa mixture into a piping bag with a small nozzle . I used a wilton size 2.
- Use the piped mixture to trace around the shamrock shapes on your baking sheet.
- Carefully remove the tape and the bottom layer of paper.
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 3 minutes to set the pattern. Remove from the oven.
- Next gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
- Pour the cake batter onto the baking sheet on top of the pattern, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Test with a toothpick or cake tester. It should come out clean when cooked.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes, before removing the cake from the tin.
- While the cake is still warm, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the cake.
- Roll the cake, starting from the shortest side, keeping the layer of parchment in the center.
- Leave to cool.
- As the cake is cooling, whip the cream. Then, add the whiskey, and stir to combine.
- Once the cake is cold, uncurl the cake and remove the inner and outer layer of parchment paper.
- Spread the cream onto the cake, and roll again to form the Swiss roll.