Kafischnaps (basically boozy coffee) is an important part of Swiss identity in many central regions, and it makes getting up early for events bearable.
I’ve been working on a recipe for a Kafischnaps cake since 2018, but couldn’t quite manage to get it right until now. I finally tailored the recipe to my liking—very boozy and intensely coffee-flavoured owing to a generous addition of instant coffee (not fancy espresso, which I was initially stuck on). My go-to sponge is a standard from Elisabeth Fülscher. I do a very simple buttercream (just butter and icing sugar) heavily flavoured with coffee and Schnaps.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 4.
Line the bottom of a 24-centimeter (nine-inch) springform with parchment paper, then grease and flour the sides.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs until frothy, then add the sugar and the salt. Keep whipping until it is thick and pale and the whisk makes ribbons in the mixture. Alternately, you can do this by hand, it will just take much longer.
Dissolve the coffee in the Schnaps and whisk this in too.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
Sift in one third of the flour mixture, folding it in gently. Sift in the next third, fold gently, then sift and fold in the final third of the flour.
Gently spread into the prepared pan, then bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top springs back when you (gently) press it and the sides come away from the sides of the pan.
Once the cake is out of the oven, let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Dissolve the coffee in the Schnaps and beat into the frosting.
Slice a very thin layer off the top of the cake, then slice it in half.
Put a few strips of parchment or wax paper along the border of your serving plate, and a small blob of buttercream in the centre (this will hold the cake in place).
Place one half of the cake on top of the buttercream blob.
Brush with a bit of Schnaps, then cover with buttercream.
Put the second half of the cake on top, then cover with buttercream.
– Make sure your eggs are really room temperature, or they won’t whip up enough. You can also warm them slightly in a water bath.
– The word Schnaps in German refers to any strong, distilled spirit. Although Schnaps can be flavoured, it typically has a higher alcohol content (around 40%). The cherry or peach “schnapps” often sold in the English speaking realm are actually liqueurs, heavily sweetened and flavoured, with a lower percentage of alcohol (around 15-30%).
– Use whatever fruity (Swiss) high-proof Schnaps you have on hand—Williams (pear), Träsch (apple/pear), Zwetschgen/Pflümli (plum), or Kirsch (cherry) all work well.