Coffee Walnut Cake
I had never tasted Coffee Walnut Cake until I moved to England with ThermoHubby John. In the UK, this marriage made in heaven for two complementary tastes is a staple in tearooms and coffee shops. There’s a rather retro feel about it which I quite like. I made my first Coffee Walnut Cake from a recipe I found in one of the “Favourite” series of booklets you see in the gift shops of stately homes and the like, and it’s one of the very first recipes I adapted for Thermomix. I used to make it nearly every week for the tearoom at The Antiques Warehouse in Farnham, Surrey. The page is covered in blobs of icing and my notes for the Thermomix version. It’s like finding an old friend and LOL, the rest is history 😉
The “Favourite” recipe is delicious but since it is basically a coffee sponge there are no walnuts in the cake itself. You may recall that we have two very fruitful walnut trees here in France, so I of course wanted a recipe where I could use some of our home-grown and self-harvested nuts. A plain walnut cake with no coffee in it is a staple of French baking, but there don’t seem to be many French recipes combining both flavours. I did find a recipe posted by an anonymous Internet user on French cookery website Elle à Table. It seems to me that it’s an English recipe rather than a French one, because it uses self-raising flour – commonplace in the UK but unusual in France.
So here I am on the one hand with a personally tried and tested recipe that is missing the walnuts in the cake, and on the other hand a recipe I haven’t tried that does. What to do? Simples. Make two cakes and compare! 🙂 🙂 To my waistline’s dismay, that’s exactly what I did. The Elle à Table recipe is nice but the cake is a bit dry, and the icing from the “Favourite” recipe is a bit heavy. So, I took the “Favourite” recipe cake and added some walnuts, and took the icing from the Elle à Table recipe, and I came up with a moist, nutty cake with a lovely coffee flavour in both the cake and the icing. Enjoy!
Thermomix Coffee Walnut Cake
Original recipes from More Favourite Cake Recipes, A Teatime Collection compiled by Lucy Rose (Printed and Published by J. Salmon Ltd.) and French cookery website Elle à Table. Adapted for Thermomix by Madame Thermomix. Makes one 7-inch two-layer cake serving 8 to 12 depending on how greedy you and your guests are 😉
For the cake:
80 g chopped walnuts
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
200 g butter at room temperature,* diced
175 g sugar
175 g self raising flour – or – 170 g plain flour and 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
For the icing:
45 g (3 Tbsp.) milk
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
200 g icing sugar (make your own in your Thermomix!)
150 g butter at room temperature,* diced
Walnut halves to decorate
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 170° C/150° C fan. Grease and line two shallow 18-cm/7-inch sandwich (cake) tins. If required, chop walnuts 3 to 4 seconds/Speed 5. Tip out and reserve.
- Mix eggs and instant coffee 10 seconds/Speed 5. Scrape sides of TM bowl with spatula.
- Weigh in butter and sugar and mix 10 seconds/Speed 7. Scrape sides of TM bowl with spatula. (At this stage your mixture could be oddly lumpy-looking. Don’t worry, it will become lovely and smooth in Step 4.)
Add self-raising flour or plain flour plus baking powder and mix 1 ½ minutes/Speed 5; scrape down. Add walnuts and mix 8 seconds/Speed 3/Reverse Blade Function. Divide the batter between your tins. Madame Thermomix’s Top Tip: Scrape out as much batter as you can with the spatula, then return the bowl to the Thermomix base and whizz 5 seconds/Speed 5 to spin the remaining batter to the sides of the bowl. Scrape the rest of the batter into your tins. #nowaste!
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean, or until the top springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Let cool completely on a wire rack before turning out. Wash and thoroughly dry your TM bowl, blade and lid.
- Make the icing: If required, grind your icing sugar by weighing in 200 g of granulated sugar and grinding 30 seconds/Speed 10. Tip out and reserve. Add milk and instant coffee to TM bowl and mix 10 seconds/Speed 3. Scrape down and repeat. Add butter and icing sugar to bowl and mix 30 seconds, gradually increasing speed to Speed 5. (This should help control the cloud of snowy sugar from flying up the sides and onto the lid of your bowl!) Scrape down and mix again a few seconds if required.
- Assemble the cake: Unmould the cakes and place one of them upside down on a serving plate. For an English-style cake, spread half the icing on the bottom cake and place the other cake on top, right side up so that the flat sides are together. Spread the rest of the icing on top. For an American-style cake, spread about 1/3 of the icing on the bottom cake and place the other cake on top, right side up as before, so that the flat sides are together. Spread the remainder of the icing on the top and on the sides of the cake. (This American method seals your cake and keeps it moist longer.) Decorate your cake with the walnut halves.
*Madame Thermomix’s Top Tip for softening butter, from Thermomix UK Director Janie Turner: Soften your cold butter by cutting it into 1-inch/2-cm cubes and mixing at 40° C/Speed 4 for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the amount. E.g. 175 g butter = 30 seconds; 250 g butter = 40 seconds; 350 g butter = 1 minute. This works brilliantly and I’d recommend you not exceed these timings without checking so that you don’t melt your butter 😉
Bon appétit !