Every week there seems to be a new “holiday” — most of these made up of a hashtag and nothing more. A few recent examples that come to mind (National Taco Day, National Dog Day, National Lazy Day) may make a good excuse to get together with friends and use a fun hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, but how did these holidays get invented? And more importantly: why celebrate them?
These unofficial holidays are known as “hashtag holidays” or “marketing holidays” and that’s because a lot of them were born out of a promotion or campaign. Some of these have taken a life of their own on social media. While National Dessert Day may not be an official holiday, and we aren’t getting a day off work to celebrate desserts (one can dream) we thought we’d take this opportunity to celebrate desserts that incorporate our favorite ingredient: coffee!
Plenty of desserts incorporate coffee in subtle ways, Ina Garten suggests adding a splash of hot coffee to her classic chocolate cake, and baking experts over at King Arthur Flour mention that a pinch of espresso powder will enhance chocolate treats such as brownies without crossing the line into mocha territory. Other recipes, like classic Tiramisu, call for coffee liqueur rather than coffee itself. But what if you want baking with coffee to deliver a coffee-forward, caffeinated treat worthy of some buzz? Look no further. We’ve tested a few dessert recipes with coffee as the front-and-center flavor.
Coffee Desserts: Tested By Commonwealth Joe
Mini Mocha Cheesecakes
With an espresso-laced batter, chocolate cookie crumb crust, and chocolate ganache drizzle, these mini cheesecakes are the best of both worlds: chocolate and coffee. While mocha flavored desserts are classic, these cheesecakes would be just as good with a simple graham cracker crust, or an almond crust to make them gluten-free! With two intense flavors, these mini coffee desserts pack a lot of richness into a small cupcake tin. The batter recipe is a tried and true favorite from King Arthur Flour, with the addition of a teaspoon and a half of espresso powder. The crust comes from The Pioneer Woman, and the ganache is equal parts heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate. Gently heat the cream, and stir in the chocolate until it is smooth.
While most dessert recipes with coffee are rich and laden with chocolate and heavy flavors, this cappuccino pavlova from Nigella is a light and airy, thanks to it’s meringue base. It’s light flavor and delicate texture bring to mind the foam of a cappuccino. In fact, this is probably the closest you can get to a cappuccino in dessert form. Described as a marshmallowy meringue, the espresso adds a complexity to an otherwise sweet and pillowy dessert. Because it’s made with a meringue base and cornflour, this gluten-free dessert can easily be made dairy-free without any major changes, just a simple swap of heavy whipping cream topping for whipped coconut cream.
Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
This recipe is a great example of coffee as a supporting character. This bundt cake has a rich, dark chocolate flavor and a dense crumb. This cake is a family recipe graciously shared with us by one of our team mates (thank you DeVito family!) and they highly recommend serving it with a side of vanilla ice cream. Recipes using freshly brewed coffee are not as common as recipes using espresso powder or coffee liqueur, and this one truly takes the cake! It is simple to make, delicious, and is a cherished family tradition.
We think the chocolatey notes of our medium-roast Gunston Willows are a great fit for this cake.
No matter how you make them, macarons are impressive. We’ll let you in on a secret though: they are surprisingly simple if you have a lot of time and a little patience. We went for double espresso macarons to really showcase coffee in these miniature treats. Since macarons are made with almond flour, they are naturally gluten-free. We relied on BraveTart’s extremely thorough recipes for both the macaron shells and the buttercream and had great results adding about 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to each. The strength of the espresso is tempered by the sweet almond shells and buttercream.
We couldn’t write a blog about coffee desserts and leave out a classic italian recipe: tiramisu. We tried putting our own spin on this classic but making light and fluffy tiramisu cupcakes from King Arthur Flour, soaked with a mixture of kahlua and coffee, topped with a lightly sweet mascarpone frosting.
Commonwealth Joe Tested, Commonwealth Joe Approved
National Dessert Day was a great excuse for us to test recipes and share them with our team. If you try any of these recipes, be sure to let us know! Whether or not you choose to include coffee in your recipes on National Dessert Day, we’re sure a cup of freshly brewed cup of coffee or Nitro Cold Brew will be a great accompaniment.
What are you making for #NationalDessertDay? Tag us in your coffee dessert posts and let us know!