It has been bitterly cold at times this weekend – proper “get chilled to the bone outside, come home and warm your hands on the radiator, only to take them away and discover they’re cold again just a few moments later” weather. (An accurate if not particularly pithy description.)
So a little bit of indulgence seemed permissible – advisable even, and it came in the form of this coffee and walnut cake.
The recipe came from the wonderful “Great British Book of Baking”, which was brought out to accompany the “Great British Bake Off” five or so years ago. This is a real go to book for me, and it has been in the line of fire next to the mixing bowl so often that some of the pages are now spattered with a disturbing amount of butter and icing sugar. There are also great savoury recipes, including a delicious one for spicy cheddar biscuits.
Anyway, the coffee and walnut cake is a classic 175g/3 egg sponge recipe, with the addition of 75g of chopped walnuts and 1tbsp of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1tbsp of boiling water.
Making the icing as in the recipe wasn’t an option, as I didn’t have any cream and by this point had also run out of instant coffee. (And as we’ve established, it was much too cold to leave the house in search of ingredients). So, as you do, I did some googling, and found instructions on a stunningly beautiful blog for making coffee essence. I made up just a small amount (2 espresso cups and 35g sugar), and this was more than enough.
Then I whipped up a batch of butter icing – 400g icing sugar, 125g butter, 3 ish tbsp milk and 4tsp (I think) of the coffee essence. I tasted as I went – the hardship – and went for quite a gentle flavour.
Then some half walnuts on top, and it was done. The result – a pretty scrumptious cake that holds its shape well when being transferred from wire rack to cake stand to cake tin. It is, however, very sweet – and I say this as someone who has been known to cut and eat large helpings of fondant icing – so slices need to be fairly small.
On reflection, it could well be that the icing in the recipe is less sweet. I’ll just have to try it next time there’s a frankly spurious reason for baking.