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Coffee & Walnut Cake

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.
4.72 from 25 votes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 people


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
  • tsp milk
  • 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
  • tbsp boiling water

To decorate

  • 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.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.


Calories: 899kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 486mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 81g | Vitamin A: 1610IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British