You know, I’ve gotten some pretty fantastic packages in the mail since I started blogging—a jar of coconut oil, a case of Talenti gelato, a bag of Xylitol, something like 20 containers of Chobani yogurt.

But this month, I received something totally new, something I’d never have expected, something that kind of amazed me when I opened it, in fact: I recieved an entire case of Starbucks Natural Fusions coffee—filled with several bags each of the vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon flavors—and along with, so it turns out, the opportunity to host a meal featuring the coffee: with $100 of grocery money to do it.

case of coffee

This, as you can imagine for someone who clips coupons and winces at $5 blueberries, was an offer too good to pass up.

starbucks cinnamon coffee

We planned the meal for Saturday, with six of us gathered around a table, eating a delicious feast of salmon and salad and vegetables, of which the crowning glory was definitely the dessert: coffee-infused chocolate cakes, topped with a coffee reduction sauce, set next to homemade coffee ice cream, with hot coffee to drink on the side.

Seriously.

Thank you, Starbucks.

eggs

Of the three coffee flavors, we liked the ingredients from the cinnamon the best, as they were the most whole (i.e., no maltodextrin), so that’s what we used in every aspect of our dessert: some grounds in the cakes, some super-strong brewed coffee in the sauce, some grounds steeped with milk in the process of making the ice cream.

eggs in bowl

The cakes, served warm, are like little domes of soft, rich heaven, I kid you not. They’re not overly sweet, which makes them ideal to pair with ice cream, and they’re wonderfully moist in the center, with chocolate liquid oozing out as you eat.

cakes ready to bake

cakes baked

Saturday was actually the second time we made the cakes; the first time, at another group dinner, we had experimented with proportions, done without coffee, used the berries in a sort of puree all over the top.

That time was OK.

nate's cake

This time was perfection.

a cup of coffee

I mean, really. Forget cream and sugar. I think I’ve found a new favorite way to have coffee.





(And also, just because a delicious (and free!) meal is something to celebrate, pictures of our lunch:)

salad
cauliflower
rosemary sourdough bread
my plate
around the table





Warm Coffee-Infused Chocolate Cakes & Coffee Reduction Sauce
Serves six

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted softened butter, plus extra for buttering molds
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (we used Ghiradelli)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (we used Ghiradelli)
1 teaspoon ground coffee (we used Starbucks cinnamon)
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar (we used Sucanat)
4 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting molds (we used whole-grain spelt)

Directions:
Butter and lightly flour six (6- to 10-ounce) ramekins. Tap out any excess flour.

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil two inches of water. Then, in a large glass bowl set above the saucepan, combine butter, chocolate, and coffee grounds. Reduce heat and let water simmer as you slowly whisk mixture until the chocolate is almost fully melted. Remove bowl from heat and continue to whisk until all chocolate has melted. Allow to cool slightly.

In a separate large bowl, mi together eggs, yolks, and sugar. Beat until
light and fluffy and pale in color. Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Do not overwork batter.

Divide the batter evenly between molds, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chocolate molds onto the baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to make and serve, up to 8 hours.

When ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees, and place tray of refrigerated chocolate molds into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or, until the top/sides are cooked and dry, but the insides are soft and runny.

Using oven mitts, carefully invert each mold onto a plate and let it sit for 10 seconds (I like to run a butter knife around the edges first to make sure they’re loose); then lift up one corner of the ramekin and the cake should slip out. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the coffee reduction sauce* over each cake. Serve warm, with coffee ice cream** on the side.



*Coffee Reduction Sauce

Ingredients:
2.5 cups of strongly brewed coffee (we used Starbucks cinnamon, with double the strength)
1/2 cup of sorghum syrup (or you could use maple syrup)

Directions:
Combine coffee and syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, so that it’s hot but NOT boiling. Let it simmer for a few hours until reduced.



**Coffee Ice Cream

My friend Carrie adapted her version from Simply Recipes, again using the Starbucks cinnamon coffee, and it was amazing!

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Emily

    This is sort of like heaven for me. Not that I’m the biggest fan of Starbucks, but because there are only two in the entire country of Belgium, I go a little gaga whenever I see it. It’s just such a taste of home. And the fact that you were sent an entire box – for FREE! Ah, so jealous. Well, that and I’m incredibly addicted to coffee. I’m also a big fan of brewing a strong cup of espresso and pouring that over some regular ice cream, all italian style. I would highly suggest that as we move into summer weather…

  2. bianca

    A perfect ending to any meal- regular old brewed coffee pales in comparison. But I wonder, how ever did you sleep after coffee sauce, coffee ice cream AND coffee cake? I would be awake for days.

  3. Maddie

    Just thinking about all that caffeine is making my pulse quicken! What a great hat trick you achieved with your coffee beans. The tops of those little cakes look perfect in the white ramekins, too—amazing!

  4. Shannalee

    Thanks, Alejandra!

    Jacqui, : ) Thanks!

    Emily, Yum. That sounds delicious!

    Michelle, I like how you think!

    Bianca, Ha! The funny thing is I rarely drink coffee, so I totally expected to be wired from this meal. Yet the only reaction I had was a little buzz immediately afterwards. Within an hour, it was like I’d never had any!

    TJ, Thank you!

    Anne, Ha! I wonder that all the time.

    Maddie, Ha! And I know, they were so good.

  5. Megan Gordon

    Little domes of soft, rich heaven? I’ll say! Look fantastic (as does that lunch..oy!) I always, always, always put ground coffee in my brownies or my favorite chocolate cake recipe, so I don’t doubt these are terrific. Hope you’re doing well, my friend.

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  7. Shannalee

    neil, that’s the goal! : )

    Megan, Do you? I think that’s brilliant. I may just have to do the same from now on. Hope (I feel like I know, though!) you’re doing well, too! : )

    Muffin, I agree!

    Jen, Well thank you!

    Alicia, Right? And good question about the coffee. I didn’t drink any, but I must have gotten plenty in the cake, sauce, and ice cream. Felt fine!

    Dagny, Really? And coconut flour is so different from spelt. Way to go!

  8. julie

    Oh my word! How COOL that Starbucks just sent you a box of coffee and money to throw a dinner party! How fun ;) The entire meal looked amazing! I wish I had the stuff to make the cake right NOW – haha!

  9. Emily

    You had us all kinds of excited. Thought we’d have a new CHOcoloate-coffee recipe to add to our repertoire. We’re still super pumped for this one! Thanks for the shout-out, and the delicious creation!

    Emily, Chobani

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