Coffee & cake…the perfect Union!

Last week I was invited to attend Taste of London by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. It’s no secret that I’m a complete coffee (not to mention good food) addict…so I obviously jumped at the chance! I turned up wearing extremely unsuitable footwear, having just left my umbrella on the bus on what was one of the greyest, most miserable, rainy, English summer days ever! However we didn’t let the rain stop play and instead we did what any true Brit would do…donned a fetching poncho and braved the weather in search of some tasty morsels…and amazing coffee of course!

First stop was the Barrafina, Fino and Quo Vadis stands where we sampled these delicious dishes…

After which we were led to the Union stand where Jeremy (pictured below) talked us through some of the latest Union coffee varieties. I love people who are enthusiastic about their subject matter and Jeremy’s passion for coffee was totally infectious…I dare say he could have lured even a non-coffee drinker over to the dark side of caffeine consumption

He talked about the fact that we need to make people realise that coffee isn’t JUST coffee! There are so many varieties and brewing methods, which all produce very different tastes and experiences. There is no right or wrong opinion when it comes to drinking coffee and  everyone will have their own preference….it’s more about feeling able to express that preference and building your own vocabulary to describe what you like…coffee drinkers liberation if you will!

We then tried some La Esperanza Geisha from Colombia prepared in a syphon, very reminiscent of school science classes…

Then Rwandan abahuzamugambi ba kawa ‘exceptional lot’ maraba, prepared in a pour over…

And their Gajah mountain, Aceh, Sumatran coffee, which packed a real punch, prepared in an Aeropress…

I was in total coffee heaven and the lovely Union guys, packed me off with enough coffee to keep me awake for days!

I headed off for a wander around the rest of the festival, sampled a dish of slow cooked lamb with buttered potato and caramelised onion gravy from The Rhodes 24 stand…

And even bumped (not literally) into Marcus Wareing…

Now, I’m a bit of a recipe hoarder and have recently started taking photos of recipes that catch my eye on my phone; sometimes they’re from magazines or sometimes from friends cook books. I don’t even remember where some of them are from but they’re stored away until the perfect baking occasion presents itself! On my way home from Taste I remembered one such recipe that I’d stashed away a few weeks ago…the perfect opportunity to use some delicious Union coffee…

As soon as I got home I whipped up a coffee poppy seed cake…

To make it you’ll need…

100g poppy seed

80g sour cream

150g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

150g butter, softened

250g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

40ml espresso

You need to do a tiny bit of advance prep before you can make this cake by stirring the poppy seeds into the sour cream and leaving them to ‘soak’ for at least 2 hours (or overnight if you have time).

Heat the oven to 170 degrees and line a 20cm or 22cm tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and set aside for later.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time; adding a spoonful of the flour mixture after each egg so that the cake batter doesn’t curdle. Mix in the vanilla extract and espresso. Finally fold in the remaining flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream and poppy seeds. Stir until just combined but try not to overmix.

Pour the cake mixture into your prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for 35-40 minutes. If you’re using a 20cm tin it may need an extra 5 minutes of so as the cake will be deeper but test it after 40 mins by inserting a skewer into the centre…if it comes out clean it’s ready!

Leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely before icing.

For the icing you need…

50ml espresso

125g icing sugar

Beat the espresso with the icing sugar until it’s smooth and lump free and simply pour it over the cake to create a gorgeous coffee glaze!

I don’t think I’ve ever tried a cake quite like it…deliciously unusual! The coffee gave the cake the most amazing richness and the poppy seeds added a great crunch! It was extremely moreish…the perfect accompaniment for a cup (or 3) of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee!

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