When we were in England so I couldn’t pass on any opportunity for an afternoon tea. I will always go for the carrot cake, such a favourite of mine, but my boyfriend will never miss a good coffee and walnut cake. On his birthday we were in Amsterdam, so I couldn’t bake anything, but I made up for it now with this delicious surprise! No need to tell you it didn’t last very long! I got the recipe from one of my new purchases: Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food.
Here’s how you make it: preheat the oven to 160 C. Line the bottom of 2 20 cm round tins with baking parchment. Boil some water in the kettle (to dissolve some instant coffee later on).
First, make the sponge: put 2 tbsp instant coffee in a mug and add 2 tbsp hot water to dissolve it (you can use 1 tbsp coffee for a lighter taste or 3 for a good kick, adjust the water accordingly). Finely chop 50 g walnuts and set aside. Put 150 g self-raising flour in a large bowl with 50 g wholemeal flour (if you don’t have wholemeal, just add another 50 g self-raising flour instead), 200 g soft light brown sugar and 1 tsp baking powder and mix a bit to combine. Add 175 g softened butter, 4 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract the prepared coffee and chopped walnuts and beat it hard until smooth and well combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and put them in the oven for 25 min until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
About 5 min before the cake is ready, mix 1 tsp instant coffee powder with 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water and stir to dissolve. Remove the cakes from the oven and brush liberally with the coffee mixture. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning them onto a wire rack to cool completely (this should take about 10 min).
Next, make the buttercream: mix 400 g icing sugar in a large bowl with 200 g very soft butter and beat until light and fluffy. Mix 2 tbsp instant coffee powder with 1 tbsp hot water until dissolved and add to the buttercream. Mix again. To assemble the cake, put one on a serving plate and slather the top liberally with half of the buttercream. Place the other sponge on top and slather with the remaining buttercream. You can cover the sides too if you prefer, I do! Arrange some more walnuts on top for decoration. Enjoy while listening to Rule Brittania (I do like this Night of the Proms version!).