Monday, 10 September 2012

Coffee And Walnut Cake

I made this coffee and walnut cake for our dessert yesterday (picture taken by Little  Bear after she and  Cubby had "taste tested" it for me).  There isn't much of it left now - and writing about it is making me hungry - but not as hungry as Papa Bear will be when he gets home from work, so there's no question about who will get that last slice!   It's a lovely cake for early autumn, when the cooler weather means we start to want to eat more hearty, robust flavours, but I haven't often made it until recently because when the cubs were younger they were not very keen on coffee cake (by this I mean, a cake that is coffee flavoured, not the crumb-topped sort meant to be eaten with a cup of coffee).  Now that they are older however, I think they have decided that they like it almost as much as Papa Bear does!  If you like coffee then I promise you will enjoy this lovely moist cake!

I copied the recipe from a Sunday magazine a few years ago, I think it is by the cook, Nigel Slater.  It serves 6 - 8, generously, even by my hungry family's standards.

You will need ...

For The Cake
175 g butter (I do use butter for this recipe - I think it does make a difference to the taste)
175 g golden caster sugar (if you can get this, again, it is worth using it.  Golden caster sugar has a lovely caramel taste to it which is perfect for this cake)
3 eggs, beaten
175 g self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Camp coffee essence (see note below, if you are unable to find this)
65 g chopped walnuts

For The Frosting
200 g butter or margarine (I use margarine for this - Clover, which has buttermilk in it)
400 g icing (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons Camp coffee essence
Walnut halves or other decorations, to embellish

1.  Start by preparing two 7 inch round cake pans.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  I use a hand-held electric whisk to do this.

3.  Then add the beaten eggs, little by little, beating well each time.

4.  Add the flour and baking powder - you can also use a whisk to do this, or fold it in with a spoon.

5. Add the coffee essence - if you don't have this, you can substitute 2 teaspoons coffee granules and 1 tablespoon warm water - but if you can get the Camp coffee essence do try it!  It is a vintage ingredient still available in most supermarkets, and although most people nowadays wouldn't use it, as they did in 1950's England, to make coffee, it truly is the best flavouring for a coffee cake!  Whatever you use, stir this gently into the mixture.

6.  Add the walnuts and fold in gently to combine

7.  Divide the mixture equally between the 2 prepared baking pans and place in the centre of the oven.  They should be done within 20 - 25 minutes (mine took 20 minutes yesterday - in cooler weather it takes longer).  To check for doneness test the centre of the cake with a knife, it should come out clean, or tap gently on it with your fingertips.  It will feel springy to the touch if it is done.

8. Remove from the oven and turn out of the pans immediately to cool on a wire rack.

9.  For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  You may not need all the icing sugar.  I find that this frosting spreads better if you chill it for a while first.  Despite this being an autumn recipe, it was actually very warm here yesterday - so the frosting did soften a little after I'd finished.  I just put the whole cake in the fridge while we ate our main course to firm it up again!  Decorate as desired - I usually use walnuts.   I don't know why, but I always seem to get a very good rise on this cake.  I am not sure if it is the coffee essence!  It is usually too tall, once frosted, to keep in a cake-keeper, so it's just as well everyone enjoys it so much - there's not much to store after it's been served! 

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