In my experience, cake tends to make people happy. Yes yes and fat but who cares, it’s cake. This is a wonderful, light, fluffy cake that will make your belly thank you. Make it in whatever shape and size you wish but please eat it with the icing if you can, then thank me later.
Coffee and walnut layer cake
With coffee icing and a caramelised walnut topping
Quantities: Serves 10
Timings: 1 hour (including 30 mins cooling time)
Kitchen stuff: Hand mixer or stand mixer, baking tins: for 10 mini loaves (2 layers) or one large rectangle loaf – 39 x 26.5cm (15 x 10inch) baking tray with at least 2.5cm depth, for a round 3 layer cake 3 x 23cm (9 inch) springform cake tins – I have a small oven and prefer baking with one tin so like to do the rectangle / loaf cakes
Coffee & walnut cake
- 225g (1 cup) soft, unsalted butter – plus extra for greasing
- 225g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 4 room temperature eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp strong espresso coffee, cooled
- 225g (1 cup) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 75g walnuts (115g in total including caramelised walnut topping), roughly chopped
- Large pinch of salt
- 125g soft, unsalted butter
- 125g icing sugar
- 100g cream cheese (preferably full fat philadelphia)
- 1 1/2 tbsp strong espresso coffee
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Caramelised walnut topping
- 40g walnuts, roughly chopped (you can use any nuts for this)
- 2 tbsp (25g) caster sugar
- pinch of salt
1. BAKING TRAY: Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare your baking tins by greasing them and lining with baking paper. Choose your tin depending on what shape you would like your cake to be – for 10 mini loaves or one large triple layer loaf use a 39 x 26.5cm baking tray, for a round triple layer cake, use 3 x 23cm spring form cake tins.
2. PALE & FLUFFY: Cube your soft butter into a large mixing bowl and beat until pale and fluffy with a hand mixer (by hand is also possible but will take longer). Add the sugar and continue to beat until even paler and fluffier. Then add your egg, a quarter at a time, beating well at full speed after each addition until it’s completely incorporated (and the fluffiest). If your mixture splits or curdles, add 2 tbsp flour and beat some more.
3. COFFEE TIME: Add the cooled espresso coffee and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and chopped walnuts to the fluffy mixture and fold together until all combined.
4. BAKE IT: Add your mixture to your baking tin(s) and smooth the top with a spatula. Put it in the middle of the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, and a skewer or cocktail stick comes out clean. Be sure to check different areas.
5. COOL IT: Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Then remove it from the tin to a wire rack and let cool for a further 20 mins or so, until room temperature. Meanwhile, make your icing and your caramelised walnut topping.
6. ICING: Put the butter in a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy (phrase of the day). Sift in the icing sugar and continue beating until smooth, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so it’s all thoroughly combined. Quickly fold in the cream cheese, the espresso coffee and the vanilla – don’t over-beat it or it will become too soft. Cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until your cake is cooled.
7. CARAMELISED WALNUTS: Prepare a sheet of baking paper on a wooden board. Toast the walnuts in a frying pan. Heat a small, heavy based saucepan on a medium heat and add the sugar. When it starts to melt, stir with a wooden spoon. When the sugar has completely melted, add the toasted walnuts and a pinch of salt. Mix together thoroughly and quickly turn the walnut / sugar blob out onto the prepared baking paper. Wait for a few minutes for the caramel to harden then chop into pieces.