Espresso and ginger volcanoes

These delectable small cakes are the right shape to be called volcanoes.

However, it was the explosion of flavours as I bit into the moist, dense, intensely flavoured little numbers that sparked the name.

Darkly roasted coffee, spicy and chocolatey, with just a tinge of bitterness is the perfect foil for the sweet kick of ginger.

I love the complexity and richness of espresso coffee and also the sweetness and piquancy of ginger so of course these are favourites of mine.

However, a friend who does not particularly like coffee also enjoyed them and even the non-coffee-drinking teenaged grandchildren gave them the thumbs up.

They are quick to mix in the food processor but I chop the ginger by hand.

I have tried adding the unchopped pieces of ginger to the food processor but invariably, no matter how careful I am, they end up too finely chopped.

The method of mixing given below works best, I think.


These small and perfectly formed cakes pack a volcanic punch of flavour. Photo by Linda Robertson.
These small and perfectly formed cakes pack a volcanic punch of flavour. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Espresso and ginger volcanoes
Makes 12


1 rounded Tbsp espresso instant coffee granules
⅓  cup boiling water
150g treacle
1 tsp baking soda
80g dark brown or muscovado sugar
1 large egg, size 7
⅓  cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
⅓  cup neutral oil, such as rice bran
210g standard flour
2½ tsp ground ginger
100g crystallised ginger, chopped
To decorate, 12 chocolate-coated coffee beans



Preheat the oven to 180degC. Lightly spray or oil 12 large (100ml capacity) muffin pans.

Put the instant coffee granules and boiling water into a small saucepan or microwave container (4-cup capacity) and stir to dissolve.

Add the treacle and heat on the stove top or for about a minute in the microwave.

The mixture should be hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda: it will react and bubble up.

Stir and set aside to cool.

Measure sugar, egg, yoghurt and oil into a food processor and process until pale and creamy.

Add the coffee and treacle mixture to the food processor bowl and process briefly to combine.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the flour, ground ginger and the chopped crystallised ginger and stir to mix.

Coating the crystallised ginger with flour stops it sinking to the bottom of the cakes during baking.

Add this to the food processor and pulse three or four times to barely combine all the ingredients.

Processing for longer simply chops the ginger too finely and overmixes the batter.

Using a large spoon, spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, filling almost to the top.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 18-22 minutes until risen and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.

Top with a chocolate-coated coffee bean and serve. Although I usually serve these conventionally with a cup of coffee or tea, they do make a delicious pudding. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or lightly sweetened Greek yoghurt.

To make without using a food processor: Measure sugar, egg, yoghurt and oil into a medium-sized bowl and beat with an eggbeater until pale and creamy.

Add the coffee and treacle mixture and beat all together until well blended.

Add the combined flour, ground ginger and chopped crystallised ginger and stir gently until just combined.

Do not overmix.

Spoon into muffin pans and bake as above.

Volcanoes freeze well.

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