Friday, 4 June 2010

What exactly IS espresso powder?

Best question of the week comes from Erin, who asked me to explain espresso powder, which I used in the coffee and walnut cake below.

Espresso powder is not coffee grounds, but like instant, freeze-dried coffee - Nescafe, Gold Blend or whatever - but it's only for making espresso. YOU CAN GET IT IN WAITROSE but you have to look quite hard. The tin I've got was, I think, the only kind they sell in WR, it's called Percol Espresso and you can find it in amongst all the other instant coffee stuff.

(Sorry no photo but my camera keeps flashing an "ERR" sign at me and refusing to take pictures.)

Alternatively, if you have any kind of espresso machine, you can make up any quantity of espresso needed in a recipe (usually a cake, but Nigella does some wacky Breakfast Banana Smoothie thing that requires it aswell) using your machine.

We have an espresso machine but as you've all guessed, it's sitting in the cupboard under the counter top occupying the space left by the deep-fat fryer (cellar).


  1. Neither of us drink espresso so, when I needed some for a recent recipe, I cheated and made up some regular instant coffee 4 times stronger than usual. Worked a treat!

  2. Thank you for that most instructive tip, Kavey xxx

  3. So weird ... I posted a comment a week ago mentioning the seeming parallel-ness of our various endeavours including getting married within a week of each other, making hollandaise on same night and then out of curousity (promise am not stalking) read today's post about instant espresso having just come in from Waitrose with ... instant espresso for the FIRST time in my life. Am making Nigella's capuccino cupcakes for the in-laws you see ...

  4. Abi you are totally freaking me out right now!!! Nigella uses espresso powder in everything. It's like she's got too much of it or something.

    Let me know how cupcakes go? I am very suspicious of Nigella's recipes (even though she is the queen of everything and I wld lick her shoes).

  5. Thank you Esther! Having jetlagged baby sleeping chaos, otherwise would have properly acknowledged my question answered in full blog post form earlier. I will search out this stuff, would love to try Nigella's cupcakes, your walnut loaf, etc. Have several picnics to bake for!

  6. Hi Esther - cupcakes themselves completely delicious. Light as a feather. However, the white chocolate icing quantities were a bit weird and i ended up having to put heaps of icing sugar in to thicken it so ended up sickly sweet so prob best to go rogue on that bit. Ps. Told my friend to read your blog and it turns out that she recognises you from Bull & Last. Small world!

  7. I have never made an icing that didn't go horribly wrong. I think recipe-writers just go "yeah fuck it, no-one's going to make the icing, just stick any old thing down".

    what a strange place to recognise me from. she must work at the bull and last?

  8. No; she lives up the road and is a regular. But i think she must have recognised you from being with your husband. Anyway, loved your Lemon Surprise Pudding entry. Like looking in the mirror. My husband was at Merton and did PPE. I however was at London. He's an active alumnus so we go up quite often. The amount of times I am asked 'were you both up at the same time?' to answer 'no. i went to King's'. 'Cambridge?'. 'No, London ...' Despondency ensues. Funny. (Only consolation is that i got a First, but that's not really something you can blurt out instead is it?)

  9. Oh yes I sometimes forget about Giles - it is like carrying around a huge neon sign.

    Ha! So you know my pain. Yes - god I would be tempted to say "yeah yeah BUT I got a First, okay?"

    At least now WE all know.