My recipe for a classic Coffee & Walnut Cake. Three layers of delicious coffee sponge packed full of chopped walnuts and topped with smooth coffee buttercream.
This Friday is the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and I thought I’d share with you what I’m going to be making to take along to the one at my boys’ school. It’s my version of a classic coffee & walnut cake.
As you may have realised, I’m a bit of a fan of cake. However, there’s one cake I love above all others and that is coffee & walnut. If I spot it in a café then I really struggle to resist buying a slice to have with a pot of tea (as a side note shouldn’t all tea in cafés come in a pot? It’s just not the same having just one cup). For me a good coffee and walnut cake should have a really good coffee flavour and lots of walnuts running all the way through and that’s what I’ve made here.
I’ve bowed to Pinterest peer pressure and made my cake with three layers (you can never find simple 2-layer cakes on there). I think this particular cake works well with three layers as it means you can have extra buttercream, but if you’ve only got two tins I’ve added some extra notes below the recipe to adapt it. I also got a bit carried away with my piping bag to make it look pretty. If you’re not a fan of piping then just slather it on with a knife, it’ll still taste amazing 🙂
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If you can’t make it along to a coffee morning this week then why not grab a hot drink and a slice of cake at home and text to donate instead.
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Coffee & Walnut Cake
For the coffee & walnut sponge
- 10 g 2 tbsp coffee powder - (or instant coffee granules ground in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar)
- 150 g self-raising flour
- 165 g soft light brown sugar
- 165 g soft margarine - or butter
- 3 medium eggs
- 1½ tsp milk
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 75 g chopped walnuts
For the coffee buttercream
- 250 g softened butter
- 500 g icing sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 1½ tbsp boiling water
- 25 g chopped walnuts
- A handful of walnut halves
Make the coffee & walnut sponge
- Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan.
- Line 3x18cm round sandwich tins (I use these liners).
- Sift the self-raising flour (150g), coffee powder (10g) into a large bowl and salt (⅛ tsp). Add the remaining ingredients (3 medium eggs, 165g soft margarine, 165g soft light brown sugar and 1½ tsp milk) and mix until fully combined (either by hand or using an electric mixer on a low speed). Fold in the chopped walnuts (75g).
- Divide the mixture equally between the three tins.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for about 10 minutes, then remove them from their tins and move them to a wire rack to cool fully before decorating.
Make the coffee buttercream
- Mix the instant coffee granules (3 tbsp) with the boiling water (1½ tbsp) and then set aside to cool.
- Cut the butter (250g) into cubes and then beat on a low-medium speed until soft. Gradually add the icing sugar (you add it gradually to stop it flying everywhere) and beat until fully combined.
- Add the vanilla extract (¼tsp) and add the coffee a teaspoon at a time, beating in each addition before adding more.
- Check the consistency of your buttercream. It should be soft and perfect for piping at this point. If it’s still a little stiff then beat in a little milk.
- Place the bottom layer of your cake onto your chosen dish. Cover with ⅓ of your buttercream. Sprinkle over half of the chopped walnuts.
- Place another layer on top and repeat the last step.
- Place the final layer on top. Decorate with the remaining buttercream and then finish with the walnut halves.
- I've decorated my cakes by piping buttercream roses and then filling any gaps around the edge with a little extra squirt of buttercream. I used a JEM 1B nozzle.
- If you'd prefer to make this as a 2-layer cake then the only change you'll need is to increase the cooking time to 30-35 minutes. You'll also need ⅔ of the buttercream (or you could use the extra buttercream to make a thin coating around the outside of the cake.
- If you'd like to bake the cake in one deep tin and then slice it up into layers, you'll need to increase the cooking time to 45-50 minutes.
- The undecorated cakes are suitable for freezing. Simply wrap them tightly in clingfilm and pop them into the freezer. Defrost them thoroughly before decorating.
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.
Free From/Suitable For…
- Suitable for Vegetarians
The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.