Coffee and walnut cake is a gorgeous dessert from England, where it's popular for birthdays and celebrations. I love this dessert because it has an amazing flavor from the coffee essence and the walnuts. With our recipe, you'll be able to whip this up easily and have a beautiful treat to share with family and friends!
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What is coffee and walnut cake?
It's a two-layer sponge cake flavored with coffee essence and walnuts. The sponge is spread with buttercream icing and decorated with walnut halves on top. This treat is very popular throughout the UK in grocery stores and as a birthday dessert.
Who invented it?
Unfortunately, I don't know who invented this wonderful dessert. Perhaps it was a British mum who wanted to change up her plain sponge. In more recent years, Mary Berry has introduced this recipe to people throughout the world via the Great British Bake Off.
Can you use coffee granules?
Yes, you can. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of instant coffee in 1 tablespoon of hot water, then use in the batter and icing. Don't use brewed coffee or espresso, as they don't have a concentrated flavor.
However, if you want to be old fashioned, use Camp chicory and coffee essence to add flavor. It adds a beautiful hint of bitterness to cut the sweet icing, and has a rich flavor that pairs nicely with the walnut. This is what Mary Berry and other British bakers use in their recipes.
What is chicory and coffee essence?
Chicory and coffee essence is a dark, coffee-flavored syrup commonly mixed with warm milk to make a quick drink in the U.K. Since it has such a strong flavor, this essence is perfect for adding to batters and icings to give them a rich, bittersweet flavor. It supposedly was introduced as a fast way of making coffee for the British military.
How many calories are in a slice?
One two-layer slice contains 551 calories. It has 31g of fat and 67g of carbs per slice as well. If you are trying to count your calories, I'd definitely cut a smaller slice or save this dessert for special occasions. Another option is to make this recipe into a traybake; then the calories would be cut in half.
How long does it keep?
It will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days after baking. Be sure to keep it sealed inside of an airtight container or tin to prevent it from drying out.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can definitely freeze this dessert. It's easier to pre-slice it first, then seal them in a plastic zip-top freezer bag or an airtight container. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Defrost each slice individually in the microwave or defrost the all leftovers at room temperature on the counter in a sealed container so it doesn't dry out.
How to Make
Measure out all the batter ingredients, making sure the butter and eggs are at room temperature.
Put all the batter ingredients, except the milk, in a mixing bowl.
Beat on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until well blended. If the batter is too stiff, add the milk a little at a time.
Then, divide the batter between two pans and bake at 350 F for 18-20 minutes. I used cake strips around each pan to help keep a flat top. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then take it out of the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the buttercream by beating the butter until smooth.
Sift the icing sugar so no lumps remain.
Gradually beat in the icing sugar a spoonful at a time until it's all added.
Add the chicory and coffee essence and cream to give it a spreadable consistency, then beat until fluffy.
Once the cakes have cooled, peel off the parchment and sandwich them with half of the icing. Spread the rest of the icing on top.
Decorate with the walnut halves (and a cocoa powder stencil if you're feeling fancy). Try to have one walnut per slice: 10 to 12.
Hopefully, you're as much in love with this recipe as I am. It's one of my favorite desserts of all time with it's simple yet delightful flavors and elegant decoration. You'll be glad you made it!
- Use chicory and coffee essence to get the best flavor. If you must substitute, dissolve 4 teaspoons of instant coffee in 1 tablespoon of hot water.
- Be careful not to overbake the cakes, or they will be dry.
- Sheet cake version: bake in a 9x13-inch pan. The calories will be less per slice than the two layer version.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Freeze leftovers sliced and sealed in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month.
- Camp Chicory & Coffee Essence: this is the traditional flavoring for this recipe.
- Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer: this is an affordable option if you don't have a stand mixer.
- Set of 4 Mesh Sieves: this set has 4 convenient sizes and sturdy stainless steel mesh for sifting and straining.
- 9-Inch Springform Pan: your baked goods will easily come out of the tin with this springform pan.
- Nordicware Cake Lifter: this huge spatula is an amazing device that will help you easily move the layers.
Other Dessert Recipes
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Easy coffee and walnut cake is a moist layer cake that’s a wonderful treat for birthdays and celebrations. This recipe shows you how to make two layers of fluffy sponge and a delicious coffee buttercream. The crunch of walnuts make this British treat amazing!
For the Cake
- 1 ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (225g)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (225g)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar (225g)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (100g)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons chicory and coffee essence (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (15 ml)
For the Icing & Decoration
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (115g)
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted (350g)
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (15 ml)
- 2 ½ teaspoons chicory and coffee essence
- 10-16 walnut halves (one for each slice)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for stencil (optional)
Making the Cake (25 minutes + 20 minutes baking + cooling)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter two 9-inch springform pans and line their bases with parchment paper.
- Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer, then add the flour, butter, sugar, walnuts, and coffee essence. Blend on medium-low speed until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. The batter should hesitantly fall from a spoon when shaken. If it doesn't, gradually add the tablespoon of milk until it reaches the right consistency.
- Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and spread it into all the corners.
- Bake at 350 F for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then take them out of the pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
Making the Buttercream (10 minutes)
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Sift the icing sugar into the butter and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the coffee essence and 2 teaspoons of heavy cream. Add additional cream as needed to give the icing a spreadable consistency. Taste and adjust the amount of essence as you desire.
- Turn the mixer onto medium high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes until the buttercream is fluffy and smooth.
Decorating the Cake (5 minutes)
- Peel the parchment paper off the cakes, then set aside the one with the nicest top.
- Place the other layer top side up on the serving plate and spread half of the icing on top.
- Put the other layer on top to create a sandwich, then spread the remaining icing on top.
- If desired, place a clean stencil on top and dust with cocoa powder to create a letter, picture, or pattern.
- Place the walnut halves around the edges. Slice and serve.
- Use chicory and coffee essence to get the best flavor. However, you can substitute by dissolving 4 teaspoons of instant coffee in 1 tablespoon of hot water.
- Be careful not to overbake the cakes to prevent them from drying out.
- Sheet cake version: bake the batter in a 9x13-inch pan. Give the cake a few extra minutes to bake.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Freeze leftovers sealed in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month.
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: English
Keywords: coffee and walnut cake easy, how to decorate a coffee and walnut cake
This recipe was originally published on August 23, 2018.