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Can I Use Finely Ground Coffee Granules Instead Of Instant Espresso Powder For The Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream?

Asked by VivinCanada. Answered on 16th December 2021

Full question

Nigella's Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream calls for 'instant espresso powder'. Is this the rather expensive espresso powder which is used for baking but not for drinking, or is it the type that is normally used for drinking, such as Nescafe instant espresso which is in powdered form? If it is the latter, can I substitute by fine-grinding instant espresso granules (normally used for drinking)?

Image of Nigella's Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream (from AT MY TABLE) is an easy mix together sponge that is sandwiched with a coffee-flavoured buttercream. The instant espresso powder used is the very fine instant powder, that can be used for baking or as an instant coffee, such as the Nescafé brand. We like to bake with this as it mixes easily with the other ingredients without being grainy.

We have not tried grinding espresso granules, though if they dissolve easily we suspect this may work. However, for the cake you could dissolve the espresso granules in the hot water used for the cake batter, and for the buttercream the powder is also dissolved in a small amount of hot water. So you could just use the granules and dissolve them, without needing to grind them. For espresso powder 1 teaspoon is usually equivalent to 1 cup of espresso (50mls), so for the granules use as much as you would need to make 2 espressos and for the buttercream as much as you would need for 2½ espressos.

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