Tuesday 28 October 2014

Coffee, Cinnamon and Walnut Cake

Hey there! If feels a good while ago since I last did a blog post, the main reason for this is that I’ve been rather busy lately, with weekends usually spare for blog baking – taken up by cake orders for friends and family. So I have still been baking- you just didn’t know it! (I’m talking about a mahOOsive cake to feed 80 people in the shape of Elizabeth Gaskells’s house!!) Pictures of this can be seen on my facebook and twitter page.

October and November is a busy time for me, sooo many birthdays – which means a lot of cakes to contend with! This very recipe is actually one that I made up for my Dad’s birthday cake, we love a good coffee and walnut cake in our household, so I thought why not throw in cinnamon too as the flavours complement each other so well.

The cake is light and airy because it is made a little differently from usual. Rather than creaming the butter and sugar, the eggs and sugar are warmed, then whisked vigorously until they increase in volume. So I must admit to you now, there is a bit more effort involved in this cake, but worth it for a special occasion to WOW your friends and family…who, let’s face it (you always want to impress the most!) 

I thought about doing this cake as a 3 layer, as it isn’t the tallest cake in the world, due to the only rising agent being the eggs, depending how much you whisk them! However, I thought most people (including me) can only fit 2 tins on one oven shelf at a time anyway, plus I only have two 20cm tins, which means a lot of faffing and waiting around! So after much deliberation it’s a NO to that idea!

Halloween is creeping up on us, so watch out for a scary pumpkin soup recipe coming soon…

Ingredients (makes a 20 cm round cake)

For the cake:
27g unsalted butter melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
5 large eggs
190g light brown sugar
135g plain flour
13g cornflour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
70g chopped walnuts

For the buttercream:
350g icing sugar
175g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon boiling water

For the drizzle:
15g milk chocolate
15g dark chocolate


Preheat the oven to 180⁰C (160⁰C fan oven) gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of two round 20cm (8 inch) cake tins. In a large, heatproof bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and sugar together. Put this bowl with the whisked eggs over a medium pan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. You can tell when it is at this stage by getting a little mixture between your fingers, if you rub it together and it doesn’t feel grainy, then it’s done.  (I used my electric hand mixer, which makes life a lot easier). Remove the bowl from the heat and beat on medium-high speed (if you have one- a free-standing mixer is better), until the mixture forms a slowly dissolving ribbon of mixture, when the whisk is lifted out.

Mix the flour, cornflour, cinnamon and nutmeg into another bowl. Sift a third of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and gently fold, being careful not to knock out too much air. Repeat twice more with the remaining dry ingredients, folding lightly until there are no more air pockets full of flour and all is just combined.

Beat a large spoonful of cake batter into the melted, cooled butter, then fold this mixture back into the remaining batter. Divide the batter among the two cake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in their tins. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto wire racks. Peel off the baking parchment.

For the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer, or in a free-standing mixer for a few minutes, so that it looks creamy and light. Next, add the icing sugar and dissolve the coffee granules with 1 tablespoon of boiling water, add this to the creamed butter and beat again until smooth.

To assemble the cake, spread a generous amount of buttercream on top of one of the cakes, then sprinkle 35g of the chopped walnuts on top of the buttercream. Place the second layer on top, like a sandwich and top with more buttercream, covering the sides so that you can’t see any cake peeking through, smoothing the edges with a palette knife. Sprinkle the remaining 35g of the chopped walnuts round the edge of the cake. Melt the milk and dark chocolate together and then with a teaspoon drizzle over the cake to finish. 

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