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Coffee and walnut cake

One of my top 5 cakes, coffee and walnut. A double sponge layer studded with walnuts, sandwiched and decorated with coffee whipped buttercream, chocolate coffee beans, walnut crumb, gold leaf & splashes. Really simple to pull together, you can decorate it as intricately or as simply as you like!

Total time to make : 90+ minutes (inc. sponge cooling time)

Time to prepare : 20 minutes

Time to bake : 25 - 30 minutes

Servings : 12 large slices



220g butter, room temperature

250g caster sugar

30ml freshly made coffee* (for instant, see notes)

4 eggs, room temperature

240g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp salt

80g walnuts, roughly chopped into small chunks


300g icing sugar*

150g butter

30ml freshly made coffee*

To decorate (optional)

Chocolate coffee beans, gold leaf, extra walnuts (whole or crushed). A sprinkling of chocolate powder (like a cappuccino) words really well too


  1. Preheat a fan oven to 160C and grease and line 2 x 8" cake tins

  2. For the sponge, prepare the coffee (see notes below) and leave to one side

  3. In a bowl, sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to mix, leave to one side

  4. In a large separate bowl (or standing mixer with paddle attachment), beat the softened butter until it's smooth, then add in the sugar and mix together until no lumps remain. Pour in the slightly cooled coffee and continue to gently mix until fully incorporated. Crack in the eggs one at a time and mix together until just mixed, don't worry at this point if the mixture looks like it's starting to curdle*

  5. Add the bowl of mixed dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) into the wet mix, add in the 2 tbsp of milk and gently fold until just combined. Finally, fold in the walnuts, being careful not to overmix

  6. Pour the cake batter into the two prepared tins and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surfaces out. Place in the oven on the centre rack and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden and springy to touch. The sponges are ready when they have a soft spring back when gently pushed with fingertips and a metal knife or skewer comes out with no raw batter - it's OK if there's crumbs, but no wet, streaky batter

  7. Leave the sponges to cool in their tins until cool enough to touch, then remove and cool on a cooling rack whilst you prepare the frosting

  8. Prepare the coffee (see notes below) and leave to one side. In a large clean bowl, use an electric whisk (or standing mixer with whisk attachment) to whip the butter until it's pale and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and continue to beat together on a low speed until smooth. Pour in the coffee and continue to mix on low, scraping down the sides until smooth

  9. Once the sponges have completely cooled, spoon some of the frosting onto the top of one sponge, sandwiching with the other. Use the remaining frosting to decorate the top and (if you like) the sides of the cake and top with any other decorations you like

  10. Slice and enjoy!

Nutritional Information

(per serving)

545 calories

6g protein, 60g carbs, 31g fat

Good to know:

  • Coffee. Use 30ml freshly prepared coffee or, if using instant, use 1 tbsp dissolved into 1 tbsp boiling water. I always prepare this first and leave to slightly cool before adding to my bakes so that it doesn't cause other ingredients (eggs, butter) to curdle

  • If your mixture does begin to curdle or look a bit separated (sometimes at stage 4 when we add the eggs in) don't worry. Continue to add the eggs in one by one. It will all come together when we add in the flour and dry ingredients

  • You don't have to sieve in the icing sugar if it's 'soft' icing sugar, but if it's in a crumbly block, then it's best to sieve in before you whisk together. It doesn't take long and makes a big difference

  • This recipe is for 8" circular cake tins, different sizes and shapes may require different baking times and temperatures

  • You could also make cupcakes of this instead, should make about 12 (depending on size), bake at 180C for 15 minutes or until golden and springy to touch (time may vary depending on size)


  • The assembled cake can be stored at room temperature (if you don't live in a warm country/it's not Summer) or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before eating to allow it to come to room temperature

  • The sponge can be prepared a day or so in advance. Store in an airtight container until ready to ice. It can be frozen for up to 3 months, wrap tightly in cling film and store in an airtight container before freezing. Defrost fully before icing

  • The frosting can be prepared in advance, keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and take out the fridge about 30 minutes before you need it for icing. If piping, I like to chill my frosting in the piping bags and remove from the fridge10 minutes before I pipe so that it keeps it's shape. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months, defrost overnight in the fridge

  • Vegetarian

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