The chilled cappuccino cream cake is a perfect spring and summer dessert. It should be served chilled and has a wonderfully bold and sweet coffee taste, without being heavy or overly rich. You can dress it up or serve it plain; either way your guests will be very pleased.
Ingredients for Cake Crust:
- 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup almonds, lightly toasted, cooled and ground fine
- 1/2 stick of butter, (1/4 cup) melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
Ingredients for Filling:
- 7 1/2 shots of espresso (11/4 cup)
- 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Ingredients for Topping (optional):
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon Kalua coffee liquor
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- espresso machine
- candy thermometer (or a thermometer used for steaming milk with the espresso machine)
- springform pan
- electric mixer
- food processor
- 4 bowls (various sizes)
Make the crust:
Heat the oven to 350 F and lightly toast the almond slivers until they are a golden brown, then set them aside to cool for a few minutes. Use the food processor to grind the graham crackers, then the almonds. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, almonds, melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Pour the graham cracker crust into the bottom of the springform pan, and press firmly. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. When the crust has finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool on a rack.
Make the Cappuccino Cream Cake filling:
Pull 7 1/2 shots of espresso – that’s 7.5 oz. for a total of 1 1/4 cups of espresso. Pour the liquid in a saucepan. Slowly sprinkle the packet of gelatin into the espresso. Heat the mixture on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat this mixture until it is thick and a pale yellow color.
Slowly pour half of the espresso mixture into the egg yolk mixture, mixing with a low speed. This will ensure that the egg yolks are heated slowly, so that they will remain creamy.
Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining espresso mixture. Cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken. Use the candy thermometer to determine when the mixture reaches 175 F. Remove the mixture from the stove and pour it into a bowl that is sitting in a larger bowl. The larger bowl should be filled with ice and water. This will cool the espresso mixture quickly. Add the whipping cream and vanilla. Continue stirring the mixture until it is cool to the touch and is the consistency of egg whites, then remove the smaller bowl from the cool water bath.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the 1/4 sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
Note: I used fresh, organic eggs from a reliable source. If you are concerned about salmonella, consider using pasturized egg whites, or an egg white substitute.
Fold the egg whites into the espresso mixture, then mix the filling gently but thoroughly. At this point, the filling is completed.
Pour the filling into the springform pan/crust. Place a dollap of cinnamon in the middle of the filling and use a fork or knife to pull the cinnamon from the center, creating a slight marble pattern.
Cover the top of the springform pan with foil or plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). Remove from the springform pan before serving.
Serving Suggestion, Topping:
The chilled cappuccino cream cake is wonderful as is, but you can also add an optional topping of Kahlua infused whipped cream. To make the topping, pour a cup of heavy whipping cream into a small mixing bowl. Use the electric mixer to whip the cream into soft peaks. Add the Kahlua and sugar, then whip again. Put a dollap of the Kahlua-kissed whipped cream on top of each slice of cake.