Monday, March 21, 2011

White Windmill Mocha Cake

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Coffee is one of my favorite flavors next to good ole vanilla. Together they're my match made in heaven! It's something about the sweet yet earthy aroma that entices my senses and don't forget the taste. My oldest sister made a mistake when she introduced me to Starbucks at the tender age of 12. At first I got those blended drinks like the strawberry or vanilla creme (which bascially taste like milkshakes), but eventually I met Mr. Caramel Frappiccino. Delicious! Then I met his aunt and uncle, Cinnamon Dolce and White Mocha Latte. Okay, now enough with personifying my Starbucks favorties. Let's get to the cake.
So fluffy! It didn't shrink either like my other sponge cakes. Yay!
I've always thought that vanilla bean specks in Bryer's ice cream just made it more appetizing, more so than that other kind, the blank canvas of barren white frozen wasteland of cream. You get the picture. Honestly I have no idea whether or not the flavor is amplified when you used the actual bean, but I thought it made a difference. It seemed as if it was more vanilla-y, more aromatic, more scrumptious. I could simply be deceiving myself to justify the extra step to extract the vanilla bean seeds though. My sister said the vanilla bean was very pungent, however I feel that I exclude that word when describing something tasty. Let's say the vanilla was pretty strong, which it should be considering how much I paid for a bottle of only TWO beans. $8. Are you kidding me right now?

White Windmill by the way is a cute Korean inspired bakery chain in Atlanta. I think the main reason the bakery appeals to me is the fact that their goods aren't overly sweetened and in a sense, simple. My favorite thing there has to be the peanut butter bun or the buttercream bun, whose name is literal. I feel like the filling is pure butter creamed until fluffy enough to be injected into the bread. Butter=LOVE.
Yum. A sea of buttercream... For some reason it gets darker after icing the cake and I have no idea why.
The bakery has this mocha cake with the tastiest mocha buttercream and moist cake. I haven't necessarily had the cake in a while so my memory is a little vague when it comes to the taste, but I know I loved it and I happen to love this cake that I concocted. It's also reminicent of the Andre's Bakery mocha cake down in the Cherry Creek District, but not as buttery. There was a lot of taste "testing" while making the frosting. Even after the third spoonful I wasn't certain it was quite yet ready. However all was reaffirmed after I licked clean the beaters and the spatula. I infused as much coffee flavor I could into the buttercream and made sure the cake itself was moist. However I do think it could use more mocha flavor which I revised in the recipe down below. So now I present to you the recipe! Can I also say that sometimes I enjoy elaborately decorating the cake more than the baking process? After getting flour clouds on my shirt and washing the numerous amount of dishes, I feel inclined to make the end product as dolled up as possible. It makes eveything worth it besides the actual consumption! 

Vanilla Sponge
Yields 1 (6 inch) cake

  • 4 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean*
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together on medium high speed 1/4 cup of the sugar, honey, salt water and egg yolks until thick and pale. It should have increased in volume significantly.
  2. In another large mixing bowl beat together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Put one third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold.
  4. Sift flour and baking powder and pour all of it into the egg mixture and mix.
  5. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
  6. Whisk the vanilla bean into the oil and then quickly fold it into the batter until well incorporated.
  7. Immediately bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until cake springs back and is golden brown.
 Vanilla Syrup**

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a saucepan stir together all the ingredients over medium heat.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved allow the syrup to cool.

Mocha Butter Cream
Yields about 2- 3 cups

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 - 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Over a double boiler, whisk the egg whites, sugar, espresso powder and cocoa powder until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reads 160°F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Using a hand mixer beat the whites on high speed until the mixture is cool to the tough and stiff peaks have formed. It should take roughly 10 minutes. ***
  3. Reduce the speed of the mixer down to low and begin adding the butter several tablespoons at a time beating well after each addition. Only add enough butter until the frosting comes together. Add in the vanilla and salt. Continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth and glossy. If for some reason the buttercream becomes soupy, pop it into the refrigerator for 10 minutes and beat again until it becomes fluffy.

* The same volume of vanilla extract can be substituted for the vanilla bean
** This syrup can be used if the sponge cake turns out dry, which mine did. It will moisten up the cake if you brush it on with a pastry brush on each layer before the buttercream. Be careful not to over soak the cake with the syrup however. 
*** My meringue never made stiff peaks, but once the whites have lightened up significantly in color you can start adding the butter. 


  1. This cake is absolutely adorable. I love the almonds on the sides!

    1. It's pint sized too. It's only 6 inches in diameter! Thanks for checking out my blog:)


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