Moka cake is a classic French cake traditionally made with a genoise sponge soaked with coffee syrup and coated with coffee buttercream. The sides are usually covered with chopped almonds and chocolate. And as a big coffee lover, I wanted to revisit this classic cake with a more modern look and a little twist by adding the pecan nuts and using a mousse instead of the buttercream.
This cake is made of:
- two coffee genoise sponges, soaked with coffee syrup
- almond and pecan nuts crunch
- coffee mousse
Genoise sponge cake
Genoise biscuit is a classic sponge cake, very light and fluffy, thanks to the air suspended in the batter during mixing which provides lots of volume. It is quite simple to prepare with little ingredients, but requires some time and patience to get the right texture. It is used for many entremets, in general soaked with syrup. It can be prepared in advance and placed in the freezer for a few weeks, wrapped in a cling wrap and placed in an airtight box. You can replace the soluble coffee below with vanilla, citrus zests, cocoa powder, pistachio paste or simply keep it plain.
- Stand mixer with whip
- Baking paper or silicone mat
- Angled spatula
- 200 g Eggs Around 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 120 g Cassonade sugar
- 120 g Flour
- 1 pinch Fleur de sel French sea salt
- 10 g Soluble coffee Nescafé
- Bring the eggs to room temperature.
- Sieve the flour.
- Preheat the oven at 160°C.
- Prepare a double boiler (Bain Marie). Make sure the bowl of the stand mixer fits in it.
- Place the eggs, sugar and the coffee in the bowl over the double boiler.
- Beat with the hand whisk until the temperature reaches 40/45°C.
- Continue beating with the stand mixer at high speed for 5 minutes and then midium speed until the mixture is completely cooled and its volume doubles or even triples (this should take around 10 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir gently using a spatula until just combined.
- Pour evently on the baking tray lined with silicone mat or parchment paper, using the angled spatula (it should be around 2cm thick).
- Bake for 15 minutes. The genoise is ready when slightly golden and springy to touch.
You can prepare a plain coffee syrup, or like me add flavor it: sometimes with a little Amaretto flavored soluble coffee (cf. picture below) or a pinch of Tonka bean or green lemon zests or vanilla extract… This time I chose the first option (as the other main ingredient of Moka is almond). The syrup can be prepared in advance, and placed in a sealed jar in the fridge for a maximum of 5 days, or in the freezer for a maximum of 2 months. When needed, just reheat it in a saucepan.
- 90 g White sugar
- 150 g Mineral water
- 30 ml Espresso coffee Single, strong if possible
- 7 g Soluble coffee Nescafe
- 3 g Amaretto soluble coffee Brand "Beanies" if available
- 3 ml Coffee extract Brand "Trablit" if available
- Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil.
Streusel for almond crunch
The streusel is very simple to realize, and adds a nice texture and taste to the cakes. It can be used plain to decorate them, or mixed with chocolate to form a crunchy base, or mixed with praliné / almond butter… and spread over any moist cake. You can freeze it raw (better) or cooked (but you will need to warm it for a couple of minutes before using it.
- Stainless steel mixing bowl
- 40 g Butter
- 40 g Almond powder
- 40 g Flour
- 40 g Cassonade Unrefined cane brown sugar
- 0.5 g Fleur de sel French sea salt
- Bring the butter cut into cubes to room temperature.
- Combine with the almond powder, salt and cassonade sugar.
- Add the flour and combine.
- Break into pea size pieces and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 150/160°C until getting golden color.
Almond and pecan crunch
This mix can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to two months. So if you have any leftovers do not hesitate to store them.
- Stainless steel mixing bowl
- 70 g Almond butter Homemade if possible
- 50 g Dark chocolate Caraibe 66% of Valrhona
- 20 g Chopped almond Roasted
- 20 g Chopped pecan nuts Rosted
- 30 g Streusel
- 10 g Feuilletine flakes "Gavottes" biscuit available in supermarket*
- Melt the chocolate at 45°C using double boiler or microwave (not recommended).
- Add all the other ingredients and combine.
This mousse made with crème anglaise and mascarpone is very creamy, smooth and a bit airy. I like to add the Amaretto soluble coffee in it to bring an almond flavor. Whip it on medium speed, until it forms a peak on the whip. You can use the same recipe and replace coffee with any of your favorite flavors. It’s perfect to decorate cupcakes as well.
- Mixing bowl
- Stand mixer with whip
- Cling wrap
- 300 g UHT cream 35% millk fat
- 75 g Fresh milk Full fat
- 50 g Coffee beans Choose the origin you prefer, italian for me
- 8 g Soluble coffee
- 2 g Amaretto soluble coffee Optional, brand "Beanies" if available
- 6 ml Coffee extract Brand "Trablit" if available
- 50 g Egg yolk The yolks of 3 small eggs
- 50 g White sugar
- 4 g Gelatin (2 sheets) Gold strengh (200 bloom)*
- 220 g Mascarpone
- Bring the cream and the milk to simmer. Add the coffee beans. Cover and let it infuse for 15 minutes.
- Soak the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes. You can place some water in a large container in the freezer to cool it while you prepare the ingredients.
- Strain the infused cream and milk: you need 250g of that. Add the soluble coffee and Amaretto.
- Mix the egg yolks and sugar. Add the warm infused mixture.
- Preapre a "crème anglaise": pour the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer over low heat. It should thicken slightly and coat the back of a spoon*. The temperature should not exceed 83°C.
- Transfer immediatly to a flat pan to stop the cooking process and to allow a quick cooling.
- Wring gently the gelatin and dissolve it in the crème anglaise. Add the coffee extract.
- Cover with a cling wrap directly on the surface and chill for 90 minutes.
- Once the crème anglaise properly cooled but not completely set, add the mascarpone and whip like a chantilly. If by mistake you let the cream set, you can leave it at room temperature for a few minutes before adding the mascarpone.
Reheat the syrup.
Once the genoise is properly cooled, cut out 2 squares 18cmx18cm.
Place the squares on a tray lined with silicone mat or parchment paper. Punch each of them with the coffee syrup on both sides.
Spread the almond and pecan crunch on the two squares of genoise (the layers of crunch should be approx. 3mm thick).
Pour the mousse in a piping bag equipped with Saint-Honoré nozzle.
Place the first square of genoise on a square cake board if available, or your serving plate, the crunch on the top. Spread coffee mousse over the surface of the cake evenly. This layer should be around 1cm thick. Place the second genoise on top.
Line the sides of a stainless steel square 20cmx20cm with clear cake collar (or parchment paper, just to facilitate the unmolding). This step is optional, you can unmold the cake by heating the sides of the mold with a hair dryer, this technique works very well.
Place the mold such that the cake is exactly in the middle.
Fill the gaps between the sides of the cake and the mold (approx. 1cm) with coffee mousse.
Pipe the rest of the mousse on the surface of the second genoise cake (almond crunch on the top).
Let the cake set in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. No need to wait until all the cake is frozen, we just need the mousse on the sides to set so that the cake has a perfect square shape.
Meanwhile temper 100gr of dark chocolate (Caraibe 66% of Valrhona for me).
Cut strips 20cm long and 4.5 cm wide.
Place them on a flat surface and let them set for at least one hour in a cool place (less than 23 degrees). If you don’t have much time, you can place them in the fridge. In both cases, place a tray with a weight (like books) on top of the chocolate when it starts to set, so that it doesn’t bend.
Once the mousse is set, untold the cake, decorate the sides with chocolate strips, and spread some caramelized (optional) pecan nuts.