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.


  1. Posted December 16, 2008 at 21:19 | Permalink

    Gorgeous photo, gorgeous recipe!

  2. Posted December 16, 2008 at 22:14 | Permalink

    Looks really lovely!

  3. Posted December 16, 2008 at 22:34 | Permalink

    Sounds delicious! The icing looks so flavourful! Yum!

  4. Posted December 16, 2008 at 23:00 | Permalink

    Mäkin olen käyttänyt viime aikoina paljon intiaanisokeria; se vaan maistuu niin hyvälle, siinä on paljon enemmän makua kuin valkoisessa sokerissa ja varsinkin jäätelössä se on tosi hyvää.

    Black treacle on niin voimakasta, etten ole keksinyt mihin se sopisi. Englannissa vanhat ihmiset syö sitä mineraalien takia teelusikallisen päivässä ja se on ainoa käyttökohde jonka mäkin olen keksinyt sille. Siinä on tosi voimakas lakritsan maku.

  5. Posted December 17, 2008 at 07:17 | Permalink

    Looks yummy! The picture is very pretty, too.

  6. Anni
    Posted December 17, 2008 at 09:49 | Permalink

    Thanks for all the sweet comments!

    Emilia – pitääpä kokeilla intiaanisokeria jäätelöön, kuulostaa hyvältä! Ostaessani black treacle -purnukkaa ajattelin käyttäväni sitä jossain amerikkalaisessa keksireseptissä, jossa on blackstrap molassesia, ne kun on kai suurin piirtein sama asia. Mutta kiitos vinkistä, taidan maistella sitä ensin ravintolisänä ja totutella makuun.

  7. Posted December 17, 2008 at 19:00 | Permalink

    What IS IT about vegetarian cakes in restaurants? The number of dry, brittle cakes I’ve eaten, you would think it was impossible to bake a moist cake without eggs and butter!!! That mocha icing sounds the business – will be trying this recipe out asap!

  8. Posted December 18, 2008 at 19:34 | Permalink

    I always bake with whole cane sugar, I think it tastes better than any other. Well, besides the sugar my grandma used to buy in a coop. It was the best ever, but they closed a year ago…
    The cake looks gorgeous! I wonder what I could use to substitute the coffee liquor (I don’t like things that taste like coffee…)

  9. Posted December 21, 2008 at 15:00 | Permalink

    You always have such pretty food. It’s so nice of you to share your words with us through your blog. I enjoy reading everything you post.


  10. Posted December 21, 2008 at 18:59 | Permalink

    What a gorgeous picture! That cake looks like straight from the bakery. Wow.

  11. Posted January 4, 2009 at 21:27 | Permalink

    This cake looks like something on the cover of a baking magazine – really, this is beautiful. The recipe sounds great and I love that you are playing with different sweetners – great idea.

  12. Posted January 6, 2009 at 04:10 | Permalink

    this cake looks really yummy!

  13. Anni
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 15:29 | Permalink

    Thank you all so much! I was happy with how the picture came out as well. We are traveling right now and I actually miss taking food photos!

  14. Shvetha
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 09:43 | Permalink

    Happy new year, Anni and Heikki!

  15. Posted January 8, 2009 at 12:07 | Permalink

    Oh my gosh, this is so gorgeous & sounds lovely.

  16. Posted January 22, 2009 at 22:10 | Permalink

    This looks absolutely amazing and full of flavor! I especially like that you’ve used applesauce in the recipe. I would love to try this (and just might, haha)

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