Pipe Dream #138: To C Things Clearly – CC CAKE

I just want to throw out a little PSA for you all: you can now access the pictures on the photos tab of my blog. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t linked correctly, so sorry about that. Not that you particularly are trying to access my photos, but just in case, I thought I’d letcha know. Now, on to more important matters. Like this cake. Ahem.

I have been waiting so long to share this cake with you. Given the serious backlog of recipes that I have yet to post, this cake has taken a while to make its way to the fore, but aren’t you so glad it finally did? It’s like, the prettiest thing I have made in the last six months.

But that is not even the best part. The best part is that this cake is my own! Technically, I was inspired by Caribou and my mum’s love of their Cafe Canela coffee drink that was out this spring, but it was my idea to turn it into a cake. And actually, that idea is not super brilliant or different given that I turn lots of things into cakes…

But still. This cake felt special and original and not just something I found on someone else’s food blog that is sweeter than mine so I decided to copy them.

‘Canela’ means ‘cinnamon’ in both Portuguese and Spanish. (I googled this, as I was part of the 20 percent of kids who didn’t take Spanish in high school. Would you even learn the word for cinnamon in high school Spanish?) The drink I based this recipe on was a combination of espresso, orange and cinnamon, so I tried to incorporate all of those elements into the cake.

The cake layers were vanilla. You can find my previous post on this fab vanilla cake here. You could use a box mix, though. No judgement from me. I filled the layers with espresso French cream, which was really a combination of whipped cream and espresso pastry cream. It was lighter than straight espresso cream, I thought, and added a nice moistness to the cake.

Then I frosted that stack of goodness with an espresso orange cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream. You would think that made for a lot of espresso, but the overall intensity was just right. It didn’t taste like you were drinking a coffee, but it did taste like coffee, if that makes sense. Ok.

In keeping with the theme, I candied some orange and lemon peel that I had cut into petal shapes. This was an extremely tedious job, so if you have to make this in a hurry, don’t believe that things will just “work out.” Oh no, cutting and candying citrus takes commitment. So you C, you might want to just fill in your cake with little starbursts of frosting, as I did. Somehow the overall shape of the design didn’t work out like it did in my head, but whatever. Next time.

Back in May, my family celebrated with a picnic on the river. We had to hike through the woods to find a secluded-enough spot. It was glorious. And my mum loved the cake. Happy Mother’s Day in October!



For the vanilla cake layers:

I used this recipe. Feel free to use whatever vanilla cake floats your boat.

For the French cream:

From joyofbaking

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk (no less than 2%)

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (100 grams) sugar

2 tablespoons (20 grams) flour

2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch

2 tablespoons instant espresso

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until smooth.

Bring the milk and espresso powder just to boiling (foamy). Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly. You don’t want the thing to start curdling. You can always pour the cream through a strainer, though.  Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature (I stuck mine in the fridge. The cream can be refrigerated up to three days.) Stir before using to get rid of any lumps.

Joyofbaking recommends folding in a 1/2 cup (120 ml) of whipped cream to every 1 cup of cooled pastry cream, but I think I did more of a 1:1 ratio. You can pick.

For the buttercream:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, cooled

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon+ cinnamon

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. It should also be completely cool. Add the coffee, cinnamon and orange zest to taste. Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip until the frosting comes together.

For the candied citrus:

I used this recipe. There are bunches you could try though. Be aware, candying the citrus peels for decoration will take significant time. You can do it though. I believe in your abilities on this issue.

To assemble:

Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edges of two of the cake layers. Fill first layer with French cream, and then add the second layer. Fill and add the third layer. Frost the whole thing with the remaining buttercream. You can save a little bit off to the side if you want to pipe some on as decoration. I had extra quick frosting lying around, so I just colored that and went at it.

5 Responses to “Pipe Dream #138: To C Things Clearly – CC CAKE”

  1. 1 Sharon Hedstrom September 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Can I be your mother?

  2. 2 Carmen Huisinga September 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

    This girl brings me a lot of joy (and calories) !

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  1. 1 Pipe Dream #277: To Resist Hyperbole – This World’s Best Cake, Apparently | piping dreams Trackback on June 23, 2014 at 9:01 am

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