Stiff Peaks

An indulgent journey into baking

Marbled Coffee and Ricotta Sandwich Cake

Inspired by the great Dan Lepard, and my recent obsession with coffee as an ingredient, today I set about making my own mark on coffee cake. This variant is delightfully marbled, and accompanied by a sweet vanilla buttercream to help scoff the lot.

Marbled Coffee and Ricotta Sandwich Cake


Marbled Coffee and Ricotta Cake

  • 2tbsp finely ground coffee
  • 25ml boiling water
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 150g ricotta
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 25ml dark rum

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract


  • 17cm deep, loose bottomed cake tin
  • oven preheated to 180º celsius (fan 160º)


Start by preparing your baking tin. Line the sides and base of the pan with baking parchment and set aside. Prepare your coffee mixture by boiling the kettle and pouring 25ml into a bowl with the ground coffee. Stir and leave to cool.

Take the butter and beat together with sugar until light and smooth with an electric whisk or freestanding mixer. Add about a quarter of the flour into the bowl and beat it into the butter mixture until smooth. Throw in the ricotta, then eggs one at a time, beating together all the time. You’ll end up with a mixture that’s just on the verge of splitting if you’ve not added enough flour, but it’s nothing to worry about. Add the baking powder into the remaining flour then sift over the cake mixture and gently fold together until just combined.

Divide the mixture into two bowls, then add the coffee mixture to one and the dark rum to the other. Quickly beat the mixtures until the liquids are well incorporated. Take alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures and add to your cake tin. Once you’ve added all the mixture, tap the baking tin against a work surface to force any air pockets out of the mixture. Finally take a cocktail stick or sharp knife and run it through the mixture, swirling in the marble effect. Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes until golden brown and well risen.

Once baked remove from the oven and allow to partially cool in the tin. Once at a comfortable temperature to handle, remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. When cold, slice the cake into two and rest while you prepare the icing.

Into a medium bowl add your butter and beat vigorously with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time and whisk gently until the mixture starts to come together. Add in the vanilla extract to bring the icing together, and a splash of milk if your mixture is a bit too firm.

Spread the buttercream icing over the base layer of your cake and then sandwich the other slice on top. Dust with icing sugar or a water icing mixture, then serve.