Laura Jackson recreates Towpath's famous Armenian Spice Cake using Allpress Coffee Shots.
From the first alfresco lunches in Spring, to the fireworks display marking the end of another service season, Towpath Cafe on Regents canal holds a special place in most local’s hearts. Same goes for owners Laura Jackson and Lori de Mori. Despite having a cult following, this magical duo are always humble and deeply invested in the same values they built the business on over ten years ago - community, conversation, and delicious, unpretentious food. You could say we’ve got a few ethos alignments going for us.
This recipe has a lovely backstory in itself, it belonged to the mother of one of Towpath's most fondly remembered chefs from their earliest years on the canal, and features in their new cook book. We’re all too familiar with the odd recipe that calls for juuust enough coffee for an integral prep task, which is why we love that our Coffee Shots can slot into recipes like the one below as a fuss-free solution for when you don’t have a full espresso set up handy.
16 dates, pitted
200ml Allpress Coffee Shots
180g muscovado sugar
200g/7oz caster sugar
140g plain flour
140g self-raising flour
120g unsalted butter, cold and diced
330ml full fat milk
1 egg, plus an additional yolk, whisked
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
50g walnut halves, toasted
Creme fraiche to serve
Soak the dates in Allpress Coffee Shots and leave for at least one hour. The more time you soak them the better the end flavour, so get them in there as early as possible (24 hours is best). When you're ready, drain the dates in a colander and set aside until ready for use.
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C and line a 23 x 23 cm baking tin.
Put the sugars, flours and butter in a bowl and rub in with your fingertips to form fine breadcrumbs. Take 250g of this crumb and lightly press into the base of the baking tin.
To the rest of the crumbs, add the milk, whisked egg and yolk, bicarb, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix until smooth using a wooden spoon.
Place the dates in the tin over the crumb layer, you should get 4 x 4 rows
Pour the mix into the baking tin and scatter the walnuts over the top.
Bake for 1 hour and test with a skewer. You want the mixture to still slightly cling to the skewer in a fudgey way rather than a runny way.
Leave to cool for 15 mins, then serve with a generous blob of creme fraiche.
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