Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cafaux TH: Dessert- Café du Monde Cake

By this point, my picture taking and staging abilities had greatly deteriorated with tiredness and fullness.
Back in the original days of Cafe TH dinner specials before Minh hired a pastry chef, two desserts were frequently rotated in and out- Fried Bananas and Café du Monde Cake. These two brilliantly executed sweet treats actually managed to prove that you can never have too much of a good thing, as we never found ourselves tired of either. When it came time to choose the hammer to our evening of gluttony there was no discussion. Cafe TH's greatest, and longest lived dessert (which just so happened to callback to my New Orleans roots) was the clear choice.

Café du Monde Cake
Heavily Modified from Frappuccino Cucpcakes
Servings: 2- 9" cakes

Hazelnutty and coffeey batter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (or cake flour if not going GF)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, peeled and chopped well
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cafe du Monde coffee powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
The greatest frosting in the history of fat
2/3 cup strongly brewed Cafe du Monde coffee

Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting
16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temp
6-8 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter)
2-4 cups powdered sugar
2 splashes of heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

And now you can peel all of them!
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk the flour (use cake flour if possible), chopped hazelnuts, baking powder, salt and coffee powder together in a large bowl). Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  6. Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and brewed coffee in 3 portions until just mixed.
  7. Fill two, greased, lightly floured 9" rounds with batter. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack.
  9. Fail at removing the cakes from their pans and have 2, single layer cakes instead of a majestic double layer one.
  10. Make the frosting in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the cream cheese well. Then add the chocolate hazelnut spread and mix well.
  11. Add in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar (I used 4 cups because my hippie spread was lower in sugar than your usual Nutella, so adjust accordingly). Smooth out the frosting with a couple of splashes of heavy cream. Realize you have just created the world's greatest frosting and make up for the fact that you've been too busy baking to eat all day.
  12. Frost the cakes and sprinkle on chopped toasted hazelnuts. Serve slices on top of a smear of extra frosting.
One lovely cake stuck to the pan!
Flavor-wise, this cake hit all the fondly remembered Cafe TH notes, and was, in my mind, the dish that most resembled its inspiration. The coffee and hazelnut melded together with perfect harmony in the cake, while the chocolate hazelnut frosting should have a patch to combat the addiction to it that you will develop. The only downfall of the cake was its overly crumbly nature resulting from the gluten-free flour (easily fixed by using super gluteny cake flour for those of you who want to try this at home). My inability to separate the cakes from their pans to make a two-tiered dessert behemoth turned out to be a blessing as there is no way that structure would have survived cutting.

The next iteration might just be a giant bowl filled with frosting
I don't know that Kevin and I have ever put more into a night of cooking than we did for this ode to Cafe TH (and that's saying something), but it was absolutely worth it as we had a night we'll never forget (and not just because we were too busy cooking non-stop to drink). As amazing as the night was, we sure are glad that next time it'll be coming out of Minh's kitchen.

After a long day of cooking, Kevin and I were able to enjoy the fruits of our efforts and look damn good doing it.

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