23 November, 2008

November recipe: Coffee and walnut cake

There should be plenty of nuts in the shops at this time of year, and if you were lucky enough to pick fresh walnuts back in September they should be nicely dried out by now. Coffee and walnuts seem to be two flavours made for each other. Here’s a recipe for an attractive sponge cake that’s luxurious without being too heavy, before we all turn to hefty fruit cakes in the run-up to Christmas.

Coffee and walnut cake

Sponge cake
4 oz (approx 120 g) butter
4 oz (approx 120 g) light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 oz (approx 120 g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) instant coffee, dissolved in 1-2 teaspoons of boiling water
2 oz (approx 50 g) walnuts, chopped

Filling and topping
3 oz (approx 80 g) icing sugar
1.5 oz (approx 40 g) butter, preferably unsalted
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) instant coffee, dissolved in 1-2 teaspoons of boiling water
Walnut halves to decorate

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in the eggs
Stir in the flour, dissolved instant coffee and chopped walnuts, and mix well.
Divide between two greased and lined sandwich cake tins, about 7” (approx 20 cm) diameter. Spread the mixture evenly in each tin and level the surface.
Bake in a hot oven about 180 - 200 C for about 20 minutes until the sponge cakes are golden brown, springy when touched, and beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tins. If in doubt insert a thin skewer into the middle of the cake; if no cake mixture sticks to it when you pull the skewer out, the cake is done. (You don’t really need the skewer test for a sandwich cake because the cake is quite shallow, but it can be reassuring if you aren’t quite sure).
Turn the cakes out of the tins, remove the lining paper, and cool on a wire rack.

Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. (Yes, I’m afraid you really do have to do this. If you don’t, the icing will be full of little hard lumps of congealed icing sugar that you’ll spend ages trying to beat out, and you still won’t get rid of them all. Sieving is quicker in the long run – trust me on that).
Cream the icing sugar and butter together until smooth.
Beat in the dissolved instant coffee and mix well.
Spread half the mixture on one of the sandwich cakes. Put the other sandwich cake on top. Spread the rest of the icing on top, and decorate with walnut halves if liked.

Serve cut into slices. The cake will keep a week or so in an airtight tin if it gets the chance. You can freeze the sponge cakes before they are iced. I’ve never tried freezing the icing.


Constance Brewer said...

Ooh... I like the looks of this recipe. All it needs is some chocolate, and it would be perfect. *g*

Carla said...

I daresay you can get some chocolate in if you try :-) How about coffee sponge with chocolate icing?

Gabriele Campbell said...

That sounds delicious.

Though maybe you should add some cochanin - whatever that is, besides a funny verification word, lol.

Carla said...

Gabriele - Sounds like the cure-all herb in a fantasy novel?

Annis said...

This sounds delicious, Carla-- sigh! Unfortunately it's not only the cakes that get hefty at Christmas time :(

Carla said...

Annis - just cut small slices :-)