coffee and walnut cake

Photo: courtesy Jayne Clinton

Coffee cakes are a love them/hate them thing – I rarely make one for guests, since those who dislike coffee flavouring really dislike it – for a while they even tried to get rid of coffee-flavoured Revels, for goodness’ sake! Those who love them, meanwhile, really love them…

I was fortunate enough this weekend to have lovely Jayne, Mark and their son Harry staying, and I know from previous visits that they are proper cake lovers. Given that we’ve got pretty comfortable with each other over the last few months, and this was their fourth visit – God bless them! – I was confident enough to risk the excellent, and, I think, bomb-proof coffee-and-walnut recipe passed on to me by my friend Helen, who is what I think of as a proper cook.

Jayne took a photograph and was kind enough to say I could use it, so I thought it was time to share…

It apparently originated with the Two Fat Ladies, by the way.

Ingredients: for the cake

175g/6oz self-raising flour

pinch of salt

3 eggs

175g/6oz soft marge or unsalted butter

175g/6oz caster sugar

1tsp instant coffee granules

2tsp hot water

25g/1oz walnuts

Ingredients: for the icing

1 tsp instant coffee granules plus extra to sprinkle on top (although cocoa powder also works a treat, I’ve found)

2tsp hot water

55g/2oz unsalted butter, softened

115g/4oz icing sugar

40g/1 1/2 oz walnuts for decoration



Great two 18cm/7in sandwich tins and line with greaseproof paper.

Beat together flour, salt, margarine and caster sugar. Dissolve the coffee in the hot water, then add this and the walnuts to the cake mixture. Divide evenly between the tins and bake in a preheated oven (170°C/350°F/Gas 3) for 25 mins.

To make the icing dissolve the coffee in the hot water, then cream together with the butter and icing sugar. Spread half the icing on top of one of the cooled cakes, and sandwich them together with the other half. Decorate with the walnuts and sprinkle with coffee granules (or cocoa powder!).