While I am a big coffee drinker – believe me, I’m not civil until I’ve had my morning cup – I’m not usually a fan of coffee in desserts. I’ve seen a few comments recently on various coffee cakes so I thought I’d give the one in Nigella’s Kitchen a go.
This has to be the moistest (that sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) coffee cake I’ve ever tasted. It also seems to keep really well, I made it a couple of days ago and it is still very fresh. Both the cake and the icing can be made ahead and assembled on the day you want to serve it.
In the book Nigella makes the cake by placing all the of the ingredients in a food processor but I am not too keen on that method. I find I get a lighter cake when I make in the traditional way. I have also cut the amount of sugar in the icing. As I said before I don’t have a very sweet tooth, so if you want to make it to the original recipe, use 375g of icing sugar. Nigella uses instant espresso powder in the mixture. I didn’t have this to hand to I used instant coffee instead.
I will be making this cake again and will take proper photos then!
For the sponge
- 50g walnut pieces
- 225g caster sugar
- 225g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 3 heaped tsp good instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp. boiling water, allowed to cool
- 200g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the icing
- 275g icing sugar sifted
- 175g soft unsalted butter
- 2 heaped tsp good instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
Walnut halves to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Butter the base of 2 x 8inch (20cm) sandwich pans and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Put the walnut pieces into a food processor or blender and blitz to a fine powder.
- With an hand or stand mixer cream the butter and gradually add the sugar until it is pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time followed by a tbsp flour after each one. Mix each egg until fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Fold in the cooled coffee and the blitzed walnuts.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarb from a height into the mixture to get some air into them.
- Fold in the flour until just combined.
- You are looking for the cake batter to have a soft dropping consistency. If your batter looks a little dry mix in a tbsp or 2 of milk until you have reached the right consistency.
- Divide the mixture between the 2 lined tins and bake for approx. 25 mins until the sponge feels springy to the touch. Keep an eye on it from about 20 mins.
- Cool the cakes in the tin for 10 mins and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cakes are cool make the buttercream icing. With a mixer beat the butter and sieve in the icing sugar to make sure there are no lumps.
- When they are fully combined add the coffee and beat again.
- Place one sponge upside down on the plate and spread half the icing on top. Place the other sponge right side up so that the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet, and cover the top with the remainder of the buttercream.
- Decorate the top with the walnut pieces if you are using them.
Updated to add photos of full cake!