This marbled cake is inspired by the plumes made when condensed milk is poured into strong, black moerkoffie (ground coffee made in a pot/kettle over an open fire or stovetop).
Recipe, styling and photography by Katelyn Allegra
- 250g salted butter, softened
- 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
- 550g castor sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 300g (2 cups) cake flour
- 150g self-raising flour
- 3,5g (½ tsp) bicarbonate of soda
- 245ml full-cream milk
- 50g cocoa powder
- 4g (1 tbsp) instant coffee powder
MOERKOFFIE BUTTERCREAM ICING
- 300g white sugar
- 150ml moerkoffie + 125ml (½ cup) extra, to brush
- 6 large egg yolks
- 720g unsalted butter cubes, at room temperature
- 7g (1 tbsp) cocoa powder, sifted
- 15ml (1 tbsp) brandy mixed with 1g
- (1 tsp) instant coffee powder
CONDENSED MILK DRIP
- 4g (1 tsp) powdered gelatine
- 30ml (2 tbsp) water
- 150g white sugar
- 100g condensed milk
- 175g white chocolate, finely chopped
- 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Grease and line 3 cake tins (each with a diameter of 20cm) with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
For the marbled cake, use a freestanding mixer or an electric handheld beater to whisk the salted butter, 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract, castor sugar, eggs, cake flour, self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and milk together until pale and fluffy. Divide the mixture between two bowls. Fold the 50g cocoa powder and 4g (1 tbsp) instant coffee powder into one half of the batter until incorporated.
Using a small measuring cup as a scoop, drop a dollop of the vanilla batter into the centre of each prepared cake tin. Next, drop a cupful of the coffee batter into the centre of each of the blobs of vanilla batter. Repeat with the remaining batter, alternating between the vanilla and coffee flavours as you go. When finished, tap the cake tins on a flat surface to spread the batter evenly.
Bake the cakes in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean, about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in the tins. Once cool enough to touch, remove the cakes from the tins and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Use a bread knife to cut a very thin slice off the top of each cake to create a flat surface.
For the moerkoffie buttercream icing, place the 300g white sugar and 150ml moerkoffie in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil until it reaches soft-ball stage (see “Cook’s Tip” alongside). Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
Use a free-standing mixer or an electric hand-held beater to whisk the egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour the hot sugar syrup down the inside of the bowl, while whisking continuously. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and becomes cool to the touch. Slowly add the unsalted butter (one cube at a time) until the mixture turns creamy. Whisk in the 7g (1 tbsp) sifted cocoa powder and fold in the brandy mixture. Set aside until needed.
To assemble, stack the cakes on top of each other on a cake stand, spreading a thick layer of the moerkoffie buttercream icing between the layers. Brush the cakes with the 125ml (½ cup) moerkoffie as you go. Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of icing to form a crumb coat. Place in the fridge until the icing has set. Remove from fridge and add a second coat of frosting. Return to the fridge until set.
While the cake is refrigerating, make the condensed milk drip. Place the powdered gelatine in a small, microwave-safe bowl (about the size of a teacup) and add enough cold water to just cover the gelatine. Set aside to soak for 1 minute. Once soaked, microwave in 10-second bursts until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside until needed.
Place the 30ml (2 tbsp) water, 150g white sugar and condensed milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the gelatine. Stir until well incorporated then add the chopped white chocolate and 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract.
Place the saucepan over an ice bath and whisk gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the mixture over the edge of the cake, allowing it to slowly drip down the sides.