Coffee became a patriotic drink after Bostonians dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest high import taxes that Britain imposed on its colonies. With the anniversary of the original 1773 Boston Tea Party coming up on Dec. 16 – and the quite modern frenzy to fuel holiday preparations – coffee is a choice ingredient this week. For ideas beyond a cup with cream and sugar, I pulled out “Coffee Makes it Delicious,” a pamphlet for Maxwell House Coffee from 1981.
The book’s ideas for “the sociable brew” go from a simple Brunch Punch (made with sherry) to the more dubious sounding Beef Stroganoff flavored with instant coffee. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the Mocha Spice Cake from the chapter titled “When Friends Drop In.” A slice of cake and a cup of coffee will give everyone a double dose of caffeine before they head back out for the next errand.
Mocha Spice Cake (1981)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled [melt in a pot on the stove over low heat or carefully in the microwave]
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or an 8-inch tube pan.
- In a bowl, mix the flour with baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate.
- In another bowl, mix together the sour cream, coffee, and vanilla extract.
- To the chocolate batter, add some of the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream mixture, beating after each addition until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the pan you have selected. For the 9-by-13-inch baking pan, bake for 30 to 35 minutes. For the tube pan, bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour. For either one, bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and finish cooling. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar before serving.