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Coffee and Walnut Cake

May 3, 2014

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This coffee and walnut cake was what I decided to make in celebration of four birthdays in December last year – mine, my cousin’s, and my aunt and uncle’s. I love the combined flavours of coffee and walnut. This was the cake I wanted to eat as a kid, but parents deemed anything that had coffee in it was not appropriate for a child. Now that I’m a grown-up (ha, I still get giddy with too much coffee), I can consume this to my heart’s content. It’s not too heavy so it’s perfect for an afternoon tea break that won’t make you fall asleep, and presence of the coffee gives a psychological boost of energy without actually delivering a lot of caffeine. Here I’ve ground some of the walnuts into the cake batter rather than just stirring in some chopped nuts, which lends a wonderful fragrance and a bit of toothy bite to the cake.

(Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe)

For the cake:

  • 75 g walnuts
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 225 g butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50 ml espresso
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

For the frosting:

  • 350 g icing sugar
  • 175 g butter, softened
  • 50 ml espresso
  • walnut halves for decoration

In a food processor, grind half of the walnuts with the caster sugar until finely ground. Chop the remaining walnuts and set aside.

Cream the butter and walnut-sugar mixture together until light and fluffy, then mix in the eggs and espresso.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt together before adding the dry ingredients to the wet. Add the milk until the batter forms a soft, dropping consistency. Stir in the chopped walnuts and pour the batter into two greased and lined 8″ cake pans.

Bake at 180C for 25-30 min, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a cooling rack while you make the frosting.

Beat the icing sugar, butter, and espresso together until the coffee buttercream is smooth. To frost the cake, tip one of the cakes upside down onto a cake board and frost the flat top of it with about half the frosting. Carefully place the other cake (flat side down) onto the frosting, then spread the remaining buttercream on the top. Decorate with walnut halves.

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