Coffee and walnut cake

coffee and walnut cake 4

I have an unhealthy obsession that I’ve been trying to quit. I’ve been amassing far too many cookbooks that my bookshelves can take.

While I’m an e-book covert and I’ve been reading fiction digitally, I still prefer my cookbooks in my hands where I can hold and flip through the mouthwatering photography.

I don’t cook from all my cookbooks as much as I wish to. I flip through them to get inspiration while I don’t almost follow every recipe in them.

This coffee cake comes from flipping through Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries ( a very good cookbook, by the way). It just looks and sounds delicious that I decided to give it a go with a few adaptations, replacing some brown sugar with granulated sugar, increasing the amount of coffee slightly and frosting it with a lighter Swiss meringue buttercream instead of a French buttercream.

The result is a good old-fashioned light and fluffy coffee and walnut cake that I wouldn’t hesitate to bake and eat over and over again.

The second time I baked this was in the form of a loaf cake without walnuts, and with some adjustments to the baking temperature and time.  It is less indulgent, with a single thin layer of Swiss meringue buttercream on the top but in no way less delicious.


I realised that I hardly bake any coffee cakes or desserts though I love my coffee and do take it very seriously.

Perhaps this cake will cement my love for coffee in desserts? I honestly think it isn’t a bad idea at all.




coffee and walnut cake

Recipe: Coffee and walnut cake with a coffee Swiss meringue buttercream
Makes one 8″ cake or a 8″ x 4″ loaf tin

The coffee cake has a lovely texture to it  – it is light and fluffy and has good coffee flavour. I like toasting my walnuts before adding them to the cake as I think it helps bring out its flavour more.

For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, room temperature
120g granulated sugar
55g brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
3 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 and 1/4 tsp coffee granules
1 tbsp boiling water
65g walnuts, toasted and chopped
extra 50g walnuts for decorating


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line two 8″ spring form cake tins with parchment paper and grease the tins with some butter.
Using a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add in both the granulated sugar and brown sugar and cream until pale and fluffy, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
2. Add in the eggs, one at a time and mixing until well-incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl after mixing in each egg. Add in the vanilla extract.
3. In a cup, dissolve the coffee granules with boiling water and stir until it is completely dissolved. Allow it to cool before using. Toast up the walnuts until warm to touch before allowing them to cool before using.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture into the batter in two additions, mixing it at low speed only until the mixture comes together.
5. Stir in the coffee until the batter is uniform before you stir in 65g of the chopped walnuts.
6. Divide the batter equally between the two spring form cake tins and tap the tins twice on the kitchen counter before placing the cake into the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until cakes spring back upon touch and/or a cake tester comes out clean. If you are making a loaf cake, simply pour all the batter into your parchment lined loaf tin and bake at 165 degrees celcius for about 45  to 50 mins.

For the coffee Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC):

There will be enough SMBC to ice the sides of this two layer cake. I had some leftover SMBC when I did this.

2.5 egg whites or 100g
110g caster sugar
150g butter, cubed and room temperature, softened
2 tsp coffee granules
1.5 tbsp boiling water


1. Prepare the SMBC: Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl over a bain marie. Heat until egg white mixture is 70 deg celcius or until sugar has dissolved completely. Dissolve your coffee granules in boiling water and let it cool down before using.
2. Then using a machine with a whisk attachment, whisk on medium-high speed for 8 minutes until stiff peaks have formed and the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
3. At this point, swap your whisk attachment for a paddle attachment and turn down the speed to medium. Add in the butter gradually, a few cubes at a time. Make sure that the butter had been incorporated before adding more. Keep beating until the SMBC comes together (about 5 mins). If the butter is too melted, place in freezer for 5 mins and beat at low speed until it comes together.
4. Gradually, add in the coffee and mix at low speed until well-incorporated. You can use the SMBC at this point. Use a palette knife to spread onto your cake.

Tips for making swiss meringue buttercream:
* It is important to have your butter at room temperature, softened but not melting.
* Add in a few cubes of butter at a time and allow it to incorporate before adding more.
* If the mixture starts to curdle, don’t panic. The butter is probably too melted. Place the mixer bowl into a fridge to allow it to chill slightly before beating the mixture at low speed until it starts to come together once again.

1. Make sure the cake layers have cooled completely before filling it with SMBC.
2. Trim the top off both the cakes (if you wish) using a palette knife.
3. Secure one layer of the cake onto a cake board with a dollop of SMBC. Then spread some of the SMBC onto the top of the cake.
4. Place the second layer of the cake on top of the first and push it down slightly.
5. Spread a layer of SMBC on top of the second cake layer. Decorate with chopped walnuts.

coffee loaf cake

About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
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7 Responses to Coffee and walnut cake

  1. chefceaser says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  2. This sounds and looks absolutely divine!

  3. vannillarock says:

    Have always preferred SMBC but British bakers do tend to avoid it. Looks and sounds like a great bake 🙂

  4. Beautiful as always Jo! This sounds right up my alley. 🙂

  5. This cake! Wowsers! It looks just amazing. That piping is pure perfection.

  6. Now that is one spectacular grand finale of a cake! It reminds me that it’s been far too long since I’ve made anything with layers and piped frosting. Those used to be my very favorite desserts, but it’s rare that I have a big enough crowd to feed these days. Perhaps I’ll just have to indulge myself and freeze individual slices for later. 😉

  7. milkandbun says:

    It seems so delicious to me, I’m drinking my morning tea and dreaming about your cake! 😀

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