Friday, October 28, 2011

Espresso and cake

I drink 4 cups of espresso in the bar every day. A caffè macchiato in the very early morning followed by an espresso at around 10 a.m. I always go to the bar for a coffee after lunch and a final shot just after dinner. That’s my coffee regime and I’ve stuck to it religiously for 5 years. 

Italians drink a lot of coffee – estimated between 70-100 million cups per day. They rank first in the world for consumption, averaging 600 cups per person per year.  I figure I’m doing more than my fare share for the national squad. With 28 cups a week, I’m averaging in the region of 1,400 cups per year.

Italian coffee, as the world knows it today, dates back to the early 1900s when Pavoni began manufacturing coffee machines in Milan. Contrary to popular belief ‘espresso’ does not mean fast, but rather a drink prepared ‘expressly’ for the individual, deriving from the steam used to ‘express’ hot water through the coffee. The milestone came in 1948 with the introduction of the Gaggia Classic machine. The Gaggia used a hand operated piston to drive the water through the coffee under nine atmospheres of pressure resulting in a shorter beverage with a cream of essential oils – the Crema.

Espresso Cake
Torta di Caffé

Makes 1 loaf

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

80g butter (softened)
120g caster sugar
2 eggs separated
100ml strong espresso coffee (cold)
175g self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Make 100ml of espresso coffee and allow it to go cold. Mix together the butter and 80g of caster sugar until light and fluffy.  Next, as you mix, add the egg yolks one at a time. Now, pour the chilled espresso into the mixture, stirring as you do so. Finally, add the sifted self raising flour. 

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the remaining caster sugar until they are stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture and then pour into a greased lined loaf tin. Bake the cake for 35 minutes and check if cooked (you might have to give it an extra few minutes). Once cooked, remove from the tin and allow the cake to cool on a wire baking rack.


  1. Mario, I have been looking forward to you posting this recipe (since you mentioned it). There are a few ingredients missing from my cupboard, but I will fix that by a trip to the shops tomorrow, and hope to make this cake over this long weekend.

  2. Let me know how it goes Cathy. The only thing that beats an espresso is an espresso with cake.

  3. Mario, just stopped by to let you know, I baked the cake yesterday, and it was a success! So thank you for posting this recipe. I will be making it again.

  4. That's great news Cathy. Thanks for letting me know.