Monday, 12 September 2016

Coffee and Walnut Cake.

It really has become very autumnal over the last few days. There's a chill in the air and the nights are drawing in. I settled into my cosy bed last night with a big wedge of this scrumptious coffee cake and my Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book and could not have been happier on a Sunday night. Now I love autumn. I love wrapping up warm in big chunky scarves and toasty oversized beanies and coats. I love stomping my boots through crunchy leaves of burnt orange, forest green, copper and bronze. I love woodland walks with the wind nipping at my rosy cheeks and twigs snapping under my feet. I love clasping my hands around a mug of hot chocolate towered high with a mountain of cream. Autumn and Winter are definitely my most favourite times of the year and also the times which really offer the best of the best grub I do believe- with big hearty, warming meals and indulgent cakes and desserts to tuck into and as such, I felt like a nice, BIG slice of this coffee and walnut cake was definitely an essential for a lazy September Sunday.   

A moist, mellow flavoured, mouthwatering crumbly coffee sponge dotted with walnut pieces, sandwiched together with lashings of sweet, fluffy coffee buttercream and finished off with crunchy praline walnut halves and mocha bean and walnut white chocolate shards. Simply delicious.


Makes 1 humongous and tantalising 3 tier naked layer cake, could anything be better than that?
For the cake:
265g unsalted butter
265g light brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 1/2 tbsp. strong black coffee 
265g self-raising flour
2 tsp. baking powder
175g walnut pieces
For the coffee icing: (For the most marvelous and moreish icing that you just cannot stop dipping your finger in/ eating whole overflowing spoonfuls of/ restrain yourself from licking the whole entire bowl spotlessly clean of:)
230g softened unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp. strong black coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the white chocolate, mocha bean and walnut shards:
100-200g melted white chocolate
Mocha beans and walnut pieces and halves to scatter onto the melted chocolate

For the walnut praline:
100g caster sugar
8 walnut halves


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C and grease and line the bottom of 3x 20cm loose-bottom cake tins.

2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the coffee.

3. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold in until fully combined. Fold in the walnut pieces.

4. Pour equal amounts into the prepared cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes minutes until bronze, risen and the surface springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

5. Prepare the chocolate shards. Melt the white chocolate in a pyrex dish over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, pour onto a parchment/ grease proof paper lined baking tray. Spread the white chocolate using a knife, spoon or palette knife to form a smooth slab of chocolate. Scatter with mocha beans and walnut pieces or halves. Allow to firm up, refrigerating if needed to ensure that the chocolate is solid. Once hardened but still slightly soft, the chocolate can be cut into triangles or shards. Alternatively, wait until completely solid and the chocolate slab can be snapped into shards.

6. Prepare the praline walnut halves. In a saucepan over a low-medium heat, warm the caster sugar until the sugar melts and dissolves to form a glossy, deep bronze caramel. Stir through the walnut halves and use a spoon to transfer the hot toffee coated walnuts onto a parchment/ grease proof paper lined tray or baking sheet. Allow to go solid. Note. work quickly when dunking the walnuts as the toffee praline hardens almost instantly as the toffee cools.  

7. Prepare the icing. Add the softened butter to a bowl and sieve in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and coffee. Beat together until thick, pale, smooth and creamy. Sandwich each layer of sponge together with icing, covering the cake entirely and scraping the sides with a clean palette knife to remove excess and create a naked layer look. Top with the white chocolate shards and create a border of alternating mocha beans and praline walnut halves.

Alternatively. for a more rustic, simple look just create a border of plain walnut halves and mocha beans around the cake edge. Simply wonderful. 

8. Grab a slice!... or maybe just gobble up the whole thing! Can anyone really ever have too much coffee cake?

Thank you for reading!

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