3 April 2017

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Easy Coffee & Walnut Cake Recipe

Coffee and walnut cake is Mr Maggie May's favourite.

It's got to have a good, strong coffee flavour, a deliciously light and fluffy sponge, be packed full of walnuts, and it can't be too sickly sweet. With such a strict list of requirements, it's hardly surprising that I had avoided baking this classic in the seven years we have been together...

Finally, with bated breath, I decided to give it a go.

When in baking doubt, I always turn to my copy of The Great British Book of Baking. It's a fabulous cookbook which my auntie gave me a few years ago, and was written to accompany the 2010 series of The Great British Bake Off. Filled to the brim with cake, pudding and biscuit staples, it's a necessity on every budding baker's shelf - order yourself a copy here.

Armed with foolproof, easy-to-understand instructions from my book, I was ready to go. I would recommend using good quality instant coffee granules in this recipe; don't skimp and use the cheap stuff - if you wouldn't drink it, don't tarnish your beautiful cake with it! I chose some strong Colombian granules from Marks & Spencer - one of our favourite instants for busy weekday mornings.

Just a couple of hours {and quite a few walnuts} later, I sat back with a satisfied grin on my face as the smell of freshly baked cake wafted past my nose.

And what a treat for all the senses; the look, the smell, and of course - the taste.

Easy Coffee & Walnut Cake Recipe

A good, strong coffee flavour, a deliciously light and fluffy sponge, packed full of walnuts, and not too sickly sweet.

Easy Coffee & Walnut Cake Recipe

Mr MM was a very happy man.

For the cake-
175g unsalted butter, softened {take it out of the fridge around an hour beforehand}
175g caster sugar
3 medium free-range eggs, beaten {again, take out of the fridge beforehand so they're at room temperature}
75g walnut pieces, chopped
175g self-raising flour {I used gluten-free}
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water

For the filling and topping-
125g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons double cream
25g walnut pieces, chopped
Walnut halves, to decorate

Large mixing bowl
Electric mixer {or wooden spoon}
2 spring-form cake tins {20.5cm - I use these}
Wire cooling rack
Small saucepan


1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/356ºF/gas mark 4. Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with your whisk or spoon until light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with your spatula now and again so you don't miss any of the mixture. 

2. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the chopped walnuts, sift the flour and baking powder onto the mixture, and pour in the dissolved coffee. Carefully fold the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

3. Divide the mixture between your two tins and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the sponges are a lovely golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed. Use your skewer to check they are cooked in the centre {it should come out clean}. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the sponges, turn out onto your wire rack, and leave to cool completely.

4. Now for the filling! Heat the butter in your saucepan until it starts bubbling. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, pour the hot butter on to the icing sugar, quickly followed by the dissolved coffee and double cream. Beat well with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very smooth, then add the chopped walnuts. Leave until thick enough for spreading on your cake - it might need to be popped in the fridge if baking in the summer months!

5. Time to assemble the cake; use half of your filling to sandwich together the two sponges. Once sandwiched, spread the rest of your filling on top of the cake, using a palette knife if you want a rippled effect. Decorate with walnut halves. Instantly cut yourself a huge slice, and wolf it back before the rest of your family know what's going on. 

Don't forget to send me snaps on Twitter and Instagram if you decide to bake this beauty! 

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