Coffee cake, tried twice

I made a coffee layer sponge this weekend but I wasn’t happy with it. I knew by the mixture that it wasn’t going to be good but I persisted as I was at home visiting my parents and they don’t like to waste food, or anything else.

We are a cake family. Any occasion, the question is always asked, “what will I make?”, “what will I bring?” I didn’t bring anything so I started making a cake at 8.30 in the evening. I am so used to my mum and dad’s kitchen and equipment that it is always familiar and comfortable to bake there. My mothers’ Kenwood chef was a wedding present nearly 48 years ago. It still works but the dial is somewhat loose and I worry about whether I am folding or beating the bejaysus out of the cake. My mum was in the other room or she would have given her two cents worth and told me I was beating too much.


For years when making a coffee sponge we would have used the eponymous Irel Coffee or Camp coffee as the flavouring, I think I still have a bottle in the press. It seems I’m not the only one as when I searched for Irel Coffee online I came across numerous articles extoling the virtues of Irel coffee. Yes, it is good, tastes of coffee and is sweet too. I never thought of using anything else for a coffee cake but at home it is now banned in favour of instant or brewed coffee.


As we currently have no heating, I decided to try the coffee cake again. The recipe below is my go-to coffee cake recipe, tried and tested by generations of Crotty’s.

The cake

8oz sugar
8oz butter
8oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tsp instant coffee with 2 tblsp hot water or 4 tblsp camp/irel coffee essence

The icing

3 oz butter
6 oz icing sugar
2 tblsp coffee flavouring




  1. Heat oven to 160 degC fan, 180 degC conventional
  2. Grease and line 2 8inch sandwich tins
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Add 1 egg and 2 tblsp of flour and beat on high until well combined
  5. Add the remaining 3 eggs and beat well between each addition.
  6. Sieve the remaining flour and baking powder into the whipped mixture and fold in with a large spoon.
  7. Fold in the coffee flavouring of your choice.
  8. Split between the 2 pans and place in heated oven
  9. Cook for20/25 minutes depending on your oven, A skewer will come out clean when cooked
  10. Remove from tin and allow to cool on a rack
  11. Cream the butter, icing sugar and coffee in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  12. Once cakes are cooled sandwich together with half the butter-cream.
  13. Cover the top with the remaining butter-cream and I use a form to create a pattern in the icing.

This cake turned out much better than the one at the weekend which I attribute to the method and the machinery. When I next go home I’ll have to bring a cake made in my own kitchen to prove that I can do it right.

Finally, my chief taster complained about the lack of buttercream in the centre (visually). Is it just my photograph or would you use more buttercream?


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