Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

Bringing Britain Back October 17, 2010

Filed under: cake,dessert — freerangenurse @ 12:28 pm

Coffee Walnut Cake

I have a dear friend, Emma, who just celebrated a milestone birthday this past week. I won’t say which milestone, because I’d still like for us to still be friends, but I’ll just say that it ended in a zero. Emma is from jolly old England and darn proud of it. I would dare say she’s almost as proud as Texans are about being from Texas! I offered to bake her the cake flavour (Queen’s English spelling, just for Emma) of her choosing and she chose coffee walnut cake. I scoured the internet and found a recipe courtesy of BBC. The only modifications I made was making the cake four layers and using all-purpose flour instead of self-rising and using granulated sugar in place of castor sugar.  I am happy to say the cake made her homesick, which means I did something right.  It was even a hit with her mum and other family members who still live in England.

When I first heard Emma mention a coffee flavored cake, I have to say, I wasn’t excited.  I like coffee, but I thought the cake would be overwhelmingly coffee flavored.  I’m glad to say, it is the perfect amount of coffee flavor.  The icing, a buttercream (which ordinarily I don’t like due to the overly sugary taste) was well balanced with the bitter espresso.  Adding that little bit of brewed espresso also seemed to make the buttercream lighter and creamier, but still stable enough for piping.  I highly recommend this cake, it just might be one of my new favorites!

note:  you will need a scale for this one.  I haven’t measured out the ingredient yet, but I promise to bake it again and take note of standard measurements.

Coffee Walnut Cake
(adapted from BBC)

yields a four layer 8-inch round cake

  • 450 grams/1 pound unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing the pans)
  • 450 grams/1 pound of granulated sugar
  • 8 large eggs
  • 100 ml/3 1/2 ounces strong espresso coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 450 grams/ 1 pound all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 grams/ 5 ounces chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour four 8-inch cake rounds.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and pale, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

Add the espresso to the mixture and stir well.  Add the flour, baking powder and walnuts and stir well to completely combine.

Spoon the cake mixture into the four prepared cake pans, making sure to evenly distribute the batter between the four pans.  The batter will be very thick.

Bake in a single layer in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden brown.  You may need to bake in batches of two at a time.

Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Prepare coffee frosting, recipe follows.

Coffee Butter Cream Frosting

  • 250 grams/9 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 400 grams/14 ounces powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 100ml/3 1/2 ounces espresso coffee, cooled to room temperature

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, add the sugar in gradually (one cup at a time), beating until fully incorporated and fluffy, before adding more.  Once all of the sugar is incorporated, add the coffee and beat until fully incorporated.  Icing may separate a little, but will become smooth again with continued beating.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake board/cake stand and cover with an even layer of frosting, coming just to the edges of the cake, not covering the sides of the cake.  Place another layer of cake, then icing until all of the cake and icing is used.  Top with 1 1/2 cups toasted, chopped walnuts.  For added decoration, and to make the cake shown here, prepare an extra half batch of frosting to use for piping a border around the cake.  Enjoy!