Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Mocha Icing

I enjoy experimenting with different sweeteners, and lately I’ve used a lot of whole cane sugar in baking. It has the most flavor of the options I have tried so far, but I am still waiting for the perfect moment to crack open that jar of black treacle! There is a definite liquorice undertone in the flavor of whole cane sugar, most pronounced in the South American varieties that are often called rapadura in Germany or “Indian sugar” in Finland (I could write an essay about the colonialist connotations of that one). For this cake I combined the lighter raw cane and the darker whole cane sugars, resulting in a balanced sweetness – so sweet that even a small piece is enough to lift my spirits on a gloomy December day in Helsinki.

Apple sauce made this cake very moist and gave it a little bit of fruity flavor as well – I wanted to bake an extra moist cake after having a disappointing chocolate cake experience at a nearby vegetarian restaurant. The cake had a nice crumble, thanks to the whole spelt flour that also adds great flavor. We stored this cake in the fridge after the icing had set, and it was even more flavorful on the following days.

The Cake Batter:

  • 5 dl whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dl raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 dl whole cane sugar (rapadura)
  • 2 dl unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 dl canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (or coffee)
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut (for the baking dish)

I preheated the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and greased a round baking dish, and then sprinkled the desiccated coconut over the bottom of the dish and up the sides. I used a small round baking dish with a diameter of 15 centimeters.

To make the batter, I first mixed the dry ingredients (flour through salt) together, then mixed the wet (sugars through liqueur) in another bowl, and then combined the two with a fork until smooth. Now I poured the batter in the dish and baked it on the lower rack of the oven for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted came out clean.

The Mocha Icing:

  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 dl (raw cane) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (or coffee)
  • 2 teaspoons desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

I started by mixing 1 and 1/2 dl confectioner’s sugar with 1 tablespoon of the liqueur, added the coconut and cinnamon, and stirred. Then I added a bit of sugar and a bit of liqueur until I had a good spreadable consistency. Then I spread the icing over the cooled cake and let it set for an hour before serving.