Of Java and Juju…

Coffe Crumb Cake arial shot

Mornings, they’re a helluva thing. With them come a mixed bag of emotions. For some, there’s the excitement of a new day and what’s to come, or the separation anxiety of having to get out of bed. Others are fighting the good fight and the disbelief that it’s already morning and in extreme cases, some even encounter fits of rage. But love them or loathe them, early mornings are a lot like EFF protests… simply inevitable, and 9 times out of ten, they’re an undeniable irritation that leave you feeling like it’s all some kind of joke (sorry Julius). Sense of humor failures aside, you’re either a morning person or you’re, well… just not. Realistically, I’m the latter and I’m not even sorry about it. Unless you’re Ke$ha and you, “wake up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy,” or even worse, wake up in the morning thinking that you ARE P-Diddy (Julius), the chances are that you need a crutch to come to terms with crack of dawn wake ups. For most people (myself included), it’s coffee. Some need a flat white to start the day, a single (or double) espresso to just keep it going and when times get really tough, well, they need it intravenously. Ha.

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Coffee is a staple and some would even go as far as saying that it’s become its own culture. There’s just something ceremonious about a cup of it and what it signifies. It’s a new day, an energy boost, a mood enhancer, a catch up with a friend, a fashion accessory (damn hipsters), a meeting with fellow colleagues and a break from the hustle and bustle of it all (i.e. when you’re hiding in the work kitchen in a feeble attempt to avoid doing any real work). Coffee is more than just a bit of liquid in a Styrofoam cup or ceramic mug. It’s a symbol of our humanity. (Right now you’re probably thinking, “Yoh, that shit’s deep son.” And you would be right. It is). Consider the number of times you’ve said “let’s meet for coffee” and not even ordered it. Pretty crazy right? But like always Kanye says, “That shit cray.” (Disclaimer: If at any time this gets too deep for you to handle, please allow me to escort you back to the shallow end of the pool from which you came. Ha).

Coffee cake

Believe it or not, people are uncannily like coffee and usually, the type of coffee and the way that they choose to drink it speaks volumes for their personality as a whole. Some coffees are intense right away, whilst others are weaker, needing time to brew in order to reach their full flavour and potential. Some are bitter and require a little (or a lot) of sweetening and others are fine just as they are. Certain ones are an acquired taste and as a result, will never be as popular as others (Oh Julius, when will you learn?) but whether you’re like Amy Winehouse and favour yours, “Back to Black” or like Procol Harum and prefer a “Whiter Shade of Pale” (it’s old-school kids, ask your parents), how you like your coffee is your own unique signature.

It’s been said that too much of a good thing isn’t good for you, so unless you want to channel Christina Milian and go, “from AM to PM”, I suggest going easy on the hardcore stuff. (Side note: if she doesn’t know that song, she’s too young for you, bro). This week I took a somewhat unorthodox approach to getting my caffeine fix without too much of the actual coffee. This of course, came in the form of this week’s recipe and the exciting addition of a really original local product, Scruff Coffee Scrub! This proudly South African brand were kind enough to send me some all the way from Cape Town and I can honestly say, it’s pretty damn fantastic. The smell alone had me sold and although I’m no scientist of skincare (I’m only one of cake. Ha), the benefits of coffee and its antioxidants for your skin are supposedly unbelievable. So shout out to Scruff Coffee Scrub and to Luke I say, “Give that man a Bells!” you can follow them on Instagram to find out more @sruffcoffeescrub. (On a side note though, my skin is ridiculously soft and now smells like a trendy, non-conformist coffee spot in Kloof Street, Cape Town on a Saturday, complete with hipster baristas busting checkered shirts, Jesus beards and man-buns (obviously).

Slice of coffee crumb cake

Naturally, the ultimate coffee companion is cake, and my Crazy Good Coffee Crumb Cake is the ultimate hybrid and a cross between a cake and a crunchy crumble. An espresso infused buttermilk adds the slightest caffeine kick to complement your cup of coffee, whilst a brown sugar, butter and cinnamon crumble adds enough texture to keep the body guessing.

This one is for Gina who always embraces her coffee and reminds me to never discredit my own. It’s also for Elo who helps me see the funny side of things when there’s something odd in my coffee. It’s for Britt who couldn’t give a damn about what people have to say about her coffee and for Shaun who quite frankly, just loves him some coffee.

Yours in Baking, Bitching and buzzing (because “xoxo” was too mainstream and because you just can’t beat a good coffee kick).


Coffee Crumb cake

Crazy Good Coffee Crumb Cake

1 egg (room temperature)

1 cup Brown Sugar

2 cups Cake Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

10 tablespoons of Salted Butter (cold out the fridge)

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

3/4 cup Buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon of fFour to coat the pan

1 teaspoon of Espresso Powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.
  2. Mix buttermilk and espresso together and set aside for 5 minutes whilst the oven preheats.
  3. Grease and flour a spring form cake tin.
  4. Cut the butter up into pieces; and place it in a food processor along with the flour and 1 cup of brown sugar (leave the other 1/3 cup for later). Pulse to get crumbs.
  5. Place in a bowl and put 1 cup of the crumb mixture into a separate bowl and set it aside. Into the bowl containing most of the crumbs, mix in the baking powder and bi-carb as well as the espresso buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Beat with an electric mixer until it is thick and smooth (about 1 and a half minutes).
  6. Spoon the mix into the cake tin.
  7. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the remaining crumb mixture and combine. Sprinkle on top of the cake batter and press down lightly with the back of a spoon until you feel it stick together.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes or until cake tester comes out with no crumbs.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting.

Health hack: Diet taking a tumble? Skip the crumble! Substitute the sugar in the cake with xylitol.

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