April 29, 2019

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

There are some dishes in life that have parts are worth fighting over; the crunchy edges of a lasagne, the crispy rice on the bottom of a pot of biryani, the middle pieces of a tray of brownies (better than the corner pieces, IMO) and the crumbly, icing sugar-topped streusel crown of this Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake.

It all starts with a freshly-made batch of masala coffee — let’s be honest, every great moment starts (and ends) with a hot drink, right? The warmth of the cup around clasped hands, inhaling steamy aromas and waiting for it to cool just enough so we can take a sip gives us time to chat with a friend or quietly contemplate alone. It soothes the soul and allows us to stop and do nothing for a moment during our busy days. Having a hot drink is like having a spa treatment for the soul.

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

Whenever I’m feeling burned out, I can always rely on a cup of masala coffee with my mum to lift my mood. She makes it milky and sweet, with just the right amount of spice to compliment the aroma of good coffee. It’s made in a pan on the stove, like all good masala coffee and chai should be made. It’s boiled low and slow for at least 15 minutes for a truly authentic Indian taste. We’ll sit, chat, snack and laugh, melting away my stresses and brightening up my day.

This cake is inspired by those moments.

My version of New Jersey crumb cake has extra-thick cinnamon sugar crumb topping, so the ratio of crumb to cake is almost 1:1. It gives you the best of both worlds when you can’t decide whether to have cake or biscuits with your cup of coffee. The sponge cake is perfectly risen and full of rich coffee and spices. You won’t miss the dairy or eggs in this recipe, I promise you.

My spice blend is very typical of what is traditionally added to boiling milk and sugar to make masala chai or coffee. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg all combine with espresso powder to make each slice truly taste like a cup of masala coffee. It’s not too sweet and the flurry of icing sugar on top is absolutely necessary to balance out the flavours and create the perfect look of a milky cup of coffee. The end result is as delicious as it is messy to eat.

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

Make this if you’re in need of a grown-up tasting cake to share with friends or enjoy in the comfort of your own company. It freezes beautifully so you can also stow away portions to eat later.

MORE IDEAS: Transform this cake into a chocolate dream by replacing 50g of the flour in the sponge recipe with 50g good-quality cocoa powder. Add 50g mini vegan chocolate chips to the crumb topping for a cookie dough-inspired finish. Or turn this into a masala chai cake by swapping the espresso powder for 25g black tea leaves — be sure to strain the soy milk before using. If you have pre-made chai masala, swap the individual spices in the sponge recipe for 1 tablespoon of pre-made masala. Alternatively, you could also use 1 tablespoon of your favourite gingerbread or pumpkin spice mix.

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

 

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Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

 

Vegan Masala Coffee Crumb Cake

Piled high with cinnamon crumble, this masala coffee-spiced cake truly tastes like a cup of Indian masala coffee.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: cake, coffee, vegan
Servings: 16
Author: Sanjana

Ingredients

For the crumb topping:

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 125 g soft light brown sugar
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 100 g vegan butter melted and warm
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt

For the sponge:

  • 225 g sponge flour/cake flour
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp instant espresso powder (if using granules, crush to a powder before using)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt
  • 100 g vegan butter melted and warm
  • 300 ml soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

You will also need:

  • 60 g icing sugar for dusting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Grease and line a 20-cm/8-inch round, 7-cm/3-inch deep springform or loose-bottomed tin with baking parchment.

For the crumb topping:

  • Place both sugars and the melted vegan butter in a bowl. Stir well until smooth, about a minute. Add the flour and ground cinnamon. Use your fingers to rub the vegan butter and flour together until you have a coarse and pebbly mixture like if you were making a fruit crumble topping. Set aside at room temperature.

For the sponge:

  • To make the cake, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and ground spices in a large bowl. Add the melted vegan butter and again, rub the dry ingredients with the butter to form a coarse, breadcrumb-like texture.
  • Add in the soy milk and whisk well until smooth. Finally, add the apple cider vinegar and whisk well one last time.
  • Pour the cake mix into the tin and top with the prepared crumb topping, starting at the edges and working your way to the centre to prevent it sinking in too much.
  • Bake in the middle shelf of a preheated oven for 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the tin. Run a knife around the outside of the tin before releasing. Sift lots of icing sugar over the top and serve with your favourite hot drink.

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