Sunday, 29 April 2012

Coffee and walnut cake – a birthday cake

No one in my family much feels like big celebrations at the moment but it feels wrong to let birthdays go by without at least a cake.  The CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) is partial to coffee cake and, when I gave him carte blanche to select his birthday cake flavour, it was – predictably – his first choice.

I don’t like coffee and what always surprises me is that when you say that to people (who like coffee), they will always respond with, “oh, but I bet you love the smell – that’s the best bit”.  Er, no.  It disgusts me just as much as the taste.  I don’t think people make that comment about any other food or drink; if you told someone you didn’t like garlic for example, they wouldn’t try and badger you into admitting you enjoyed its pungent aroma.

I stoked up the coffee element by using espresso coffee from Mr CC’s Nespresso machine.  I used 3 capsule’s worth of coffee spread across the cake and buttercream.  However, I know that most people probably don’t have this option so the recipe below sets out instant coffee quantities.  It does seem quite a ‘punchy’ cake and I think, from memory, uses more coffee than most similar recipes.

This cake is the classic combination of walnut and coffee.  Walnuts must have the best PR in the nut world as they have rather cornered the market in coffee based cakes and desserts.  I wonder how this monopoly came about but I suppose if it ain’t broke...

Happy birthday CCD!


For the sponges:

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons boiling water
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
100g walnuts, finely chopped

For the buttercream:

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
3 tablespoons boiling water
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g icing sugar
Handful of walnuts roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line two loose bottomed 20cm sandwich tins with baking paper.

Place the coffee granules in a small bowl and stir in the boiling water until you have no lumps left.  Put to one side to cool.

In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Don’t skimp on this stage as this is where all the air gets into the mix.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding some of the flour if the mixture looks like it might curdle.

Stir in the flour and the chopped walnuts.

Stir in the cooled coffee.

Spoon into the two prepared tins, trying to make the distribution as even as possible.

Level the surfaces and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponges comes out clean.

Place the cakes, in their tins, on a wire cooling rack and de-tin when they are cool enough to handle safely.  The leave to cool completely on the wire rack.

Now make the buttercream: As before, make up the coffee with the boiling water in a separate bowl and put to one side to cool.

In a large bowl beat the butter on its own until it is light and whippy.

Add the icing sugar and stir, at first manually, to incorporate.  When the icing sugar is mixed in you can use the electric mixer – taking this cautious approach stops your kitchen being dusted in a cloud of icing sugar!

Beat until light and whippy.  A good test is to take a small amount of the mixture and press against the roof of your mouth – if it feels grainy it needs more beating.

When smooth, add the coffee and beat until the coffee is evenly mixed into the buttercream. (If you’ve made up Nespresso capsules and have any coffee left over, simply brush it over the sponges – waste not, want not!)

Place one of the sponges on the serving plate and spread a scant 1/3 of the buttercream over it.

Place the other sponge on top and spread a similar amount on top of that.

Use the remaining buttercream to cover the sides of the cake.

Scatter the chopped walnuts on top for decoration.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Trash said...

Happy Birthday CCD.

Gloria said...

I love this cake always wanna make something like this normallly my kids (are twins) chyoose chocolate cake LOL is nice but I love make differents cakes and love nuts in it!! Look lovely!

MissCakeBaker said...

Beautiful birthday cake!

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday to the CCD. I do wish I liked coffee, but cannot bring myself to! It's really bizarre but I find that a standard cake but with coffee in is always somehow lighter than the cake without - weird! Your cake looks fab as always.

Soo said...

Happy birthday CCD.

I am one those people who didn't like coffee but LOVED the smell. Of course, I have since learned to like coffee - buying a ridiculously expensive espresso machine on a whim will do that...

The cake (as always) looks yummy.

Lisa Shannon said...

Oh my this looks fab!!! I do believe I won your" Baked and Delicious" competition with a walnut cake suggestion, it is my fab, so it would be rude not to try this recipe too.

Happy birthday CCD!

Take care

Lisa x

Lisa Shannon said...

Oh no, spell check corrected fav to fab *tsk*

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

I can't stand coffee cake either but my family always ask for it!

Looks lovely and tall though, love tall cakes.

Lots of love, happy birthday to him! Cake and love heal all manner of things xxxxx

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

I absolutely love coffee cake and this one looks fab! Happy Birthday to your da, I hope he enjoys your lovely cake :)

Katie said...

Happy birthday to your dad. Looks a lovely cake, as always. I used to hate coffee too until I spent two years working in a coffee shop when at school, I used to come home smelling of coffee and somehow that made me like it eventually

Truly Scrumptious said...

I'm always so impressed by your buttercream CC. I've only just got myself a kitchenaid and can't work out how to get mine to look as good a s yours! Do you kitchenaid your buttercream or do it by hand?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Truly Scrumptious

That's very kind of you! I always make my buttercream in the kitchenaid. I use the flat paddle beater not the balloon whisk, and start with the butter on its own. Whisk this until it's light and pale and almost looks like (over)whipped cream. Then add the icing sugar.

Hope this helps!

Happy baking

Georgia said...

Happy Birthday CCD! The cake looks A-may-zin! Love coffee cake, but totally get that it's a love/hate Marmite kinda thing. Also it must be good for your waistline to bake something you don't want to eat; I know that the weekly bake (I have to limit myself) is the biggest threat to my ongoing battle of the bulge

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Georgia

I did bake something else...which I'll post later in the week.
I have long given up that battle - to (mis)quote The Clash: I fought the bulge, and the bulge won!

Happy baking

Pauline said...

Belated condolences I have been away setting up my baking business formally. Birthdays are hard afterwards but still sharing good things with your family are important. Walnut and coffee happens to be one of my favs after lemon of course. Looks wonderful!

Clare said...

That looks like a beautiful cake! Happy Birthday CCD!

Maggie said...

Coffee and Walnut cake is in my top ten most delicious cakes, but then I am a coffee enthusiast. Great cake CC.

Baking Addict said...

What a gorgeous cake. Happy Birthday CCD! I don't drink coffee but I love coffee based desserts :)

missflash said...

Looks beautiful. Coffee and walnut cake is my second favourite cake (after chocolate cake).

Lucy said...

I don't like drinking coffee but I love coffee in baked things so this looks gorgeous to me! Especially the coffee buttercream :)

Cakelaw said...

Like you, I am not a massive fan of coffee flavoured cake (though I do like drinking good coffee made by a barista), but this cake does look wonderful. Hope your Da had a fabulous birthday.