Monday, June 17, 2013

Recipe: Coffee & Walnut Cake

The ultimate Afternoon Tea classic of a luxurious Walnut Coffee Cake is always good to have in your repertoire and is one of my all-time favourite cakes. In this recipe, I use Irel Coffee (or Camp Coffee) essence which can be found in all good supermarkets and works better than real coffee. I like to use mascarpone cream instead of butter-cream, especially in the summer as it leaves a lighter fresher and more modern twist on a age-old classic.

Shopping List:

- 225g Soft unsalted butter
- 225g Caster Sugar
- 4 Free Range Eggs (at room temperature)
- 100g Walnuts (roughly chopped)
- 225g Plain white flour (sieved)
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 3 Tbsp Irel (or Camp) coffee essence

Coffee Icing & Filling 

- 450g Mascarpone Cream 
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 6 Tsp Irel or Camp coffee essence

To Decorate:

- 8 Whole walnut halves


1. Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4. Line the base of two 8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper and lightly dust the edges with flour. 

2. Cream the butter well with a wooden spoon, add the sugar in stages until pale and light in texture. Add in an egg one-by-one to the mixture, adding a tablespoon of flour to each addition to prevent the mixture from curdling and gently fold in the coffee extract.

3. Add the chopped walnuts, flour and baking powder and fold into the cake mixture. The mixture should be a light dropping consistency, add 1-2 tbsp of buttermilk to loosen the mixture if needed. Weigh the mixture and divide it in two into the cake tins. Bake for 30 minutes.

4. The cake is cooked when a skewar is inserted in the centre and comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tins for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Leave the cakes to cool on the wire rack completely before adding the filling.

5. To make the filling and icing; whisk the mascapone cream and sugar well before adding in the coffee essence. 

6. Divide the coffee cream mixture evenly and using a palette knife sandwich the two layers together evenly and coat the top with the remaining mixture. Decorate with 8 whole walnuts.

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Styling: Dermot O' Sullivan with props from La Vie En Rose
Photography: Jakub Walutek.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dermie's Best Buy: Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella

Toonsbridge Dairy began production in 2011, by The Real Olive Company founder, Toby Simmonds and his neighbouring farmer Johnny Lynch. Following a number of research trips to Italy, the pair sourced thirty-one young pedigree buffalo from the Prince of Lombardia and brought them back to Ireland where they now happily graze outdoors all year round on the rich, green grass in Macroom, County Cork.

Both Toby and Johnny spent a stint learning the craft of how to make real mozzarella, in the same time-honoured tradition by night in a traditional “casifeicio” in Capua, a small town to the North of Naples which is known throughout Italy as the heart of the traditional buffalo area. Toonsbridge mozzarella is formed in the same hand crafted way, carefully handling the pure molten curd at over 75 degrees Celsius and shaping into beautiful white mozzarella rounds. Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella enhances dishes when topped over fresh green salads, spicy tomato pastas, homemade pizzas and so much more.

Today, the dairy is home to a herd of over fifty buffalo producing; Toonsbridge buffalo mozzarella, Toonbridge ricotta and hard grana type cheese similar to Pecorino. Currently in the making is a creamy, brine ripened cheese which is very similar to Feta.

Toonsbridge Buffolo Mozzarella takes pride of place on some of Ireland's leading restaurant menus including; Chapter One, Dylan McGrath's Fade Street Social, Café Pardiso and many more.

A selection of artisan food stores across the country stock Toonbridge Mozzarella including:

- Avoca
- Cinnomon Cottage
- Diva Bakery Deli
- The Real Olive Stall in Cork's English Market
- Farmers' Markets Nationwide

Toonsbridge Dairy recently opened a café in Macroom County Cork - a short 25 minute drive from Cork City serving delicious seasonal soups, salads, sandwiches, cakes, sweet treats and so much more using ingredients fresh from their beautiful gardens outside. The café is open Thurs - Sunday 11am - 6pm and Bank Holiday Monday.