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Coffee & Double Walnut cake

Updated on September 14, 2023


This is one of my favourite cakes but it is also one I have found has a wide variety in quality from shop bought ones which are completely tasteless to ones which taste bitter due to either poor quality coffee or too much rising agent being used. Most also have very little, if any, taste of Walnuts.

My favourite is a coffee and walnut cake two layers of a light sponge with a coffee butter cream between them and on the top with a coffee-nutty taste, lovely.

I have here a recipe as well as a few extra hints/tips which i have used when making the cake at the bottom.

I have tried many recipes but this is the one given to me by my sister-in-law and it is the one I keep going back to. It has walnut chunks in the cake its self for a bit of texture and more walnut flavour.


The ounces measurements have been slightly rounded off. Please pick either metric or imperial and stick to that as they are not exactly the same but both work. I do not know the US cups equivalent.

For the cake:

175g (6 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter

175g (6oz) golden caster sugar

3 large eggs (UK sizes I don’t know the US equivalent)

175g (6oz) self-raising flour mixed with 1 level tsp baking powder

2 level(ish) tsp Instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

65g (2.5 oz) walnut pieces roughly chopped

For the butter cream:

This does make quite a lot but you are putting a fairly thick layer between the layers of cake and decorating the top and sides. The quantity can be halved if you wish.

200g (7 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter

400g (14oz) icing sugar (powdered sugar)

2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water

60g (2.25 oz) walnut pieces roughly chopped

You will also need two 20cm (8”) round cake tins. Loose bottom ones are best. These need to be lined with baking parchment and well greased (rub a small amount of butter round the tin’s side and base as well as on the parchment. (See tip 4)


Before you start make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This may mean taking things out of the fridge at least an hour in advance.

Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF approx) using the middle shelf.

To make the cake:

  • Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat well until it is light and fluffy – to save your arms use an electric mixer for this
  • Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and break them up lightly with a fork and whilst the beaters are going add the eggs a little at a time (4-5 additions) to the sugar and butter mixture making sure each addition is well mixed in before you add more this helps to prevent the batter separating. To further help prevent the mixture separating add about half a level tbsp of the flour along with each addition of the egg.
  • Mix the remaining flour and baking powder together and using a sieve add this to the mixture and mix with a large metal spoon using a folding action until it is just blended and there are no white specks of flour showing. Don't over mix the cake batter here as you want to avoid developing the gluten.
  • Add the coffee mixture and stir in well (see hint 1 at the bottom)
  • Gently add the chopped walnuts and mix in. (see hint 2 at the bottom)
  • Divide the cake mixture evenly into the two cake tins and smooth the tops off.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. The actual time can vary as all ovens are different so keep an eye on them. They are cooked when they spring back when lightly pressed on in the centre and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin. Although you can test them by pushing a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the cake (if cooked it comes out clean) I find there is not enough depth of cake to make this reliable.
  • When cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 min in the tins before turning out and peel off the baking parchment.

To make the butter cream:

  • Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft and pale
  • Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the coffee mixture and beat in well
  • Fold in the walnut pieces (see tip 3)


Now as soon as the cakes are cold place one onto a serving plate upside down so you have a flat surface. Spread about a third of the butter cream onto this. The place the other cake – right way up on top. Spread the rest of the butter cream over the top and down the sides. I prefer to keep the bits down the sides a bit thinner than the top but this is personal choice.

Hints and Tips

Just a few minor adjustments you can make (numbers as given above)

  1. Instant coffee has a wide variety of quality and many brands are, let’s face it, not that good. Instant coffee, for me, follows the same rule as using wine in cooking. If it is not good enough to drink, it isn’t good enough to cook with. I tend to avoid this altogether and use 1 tbsp of freshly made strong espresso in place of the instant coffee and water mix.
  2. The chopped walnuts add a good texture to the cake but if you want a stronger walnut taste then try putting about a third of the walnuts in a mini chopper/grinder and turn them into ground walnuts and add this to the cake batter with the rest of the walnuts. It give a stronger walnut taste. I use a cheap coffee grinder for grinding nuts etc.
  3. Now this gives a bit of a rustic look to the cake, which I quite like. If you prefer you can leave the walnuts out of the actual butter cream and when you have finished spreading the butter cream over the top and sides decorate the top with whole walnuts.
  4. Metal or silicone bakeware? Well I have used both and I did like the silicone ones when they first became ‘all the rage’ to use as they had better non-stick properties. However, I have found that metal ones work better for me and give me a more even bake hence I have gone back to using these. This is a personal preference and others may have to opposite opinion.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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