Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coffee and Walnut Cake

This cake comes from Nigella's latest book Kitchen, it is one that I immediately bookmarked to make as it looked delicious.  As it was being made for a girls get together I knew it was safe to make it and not have to worry about ending up eating the lions share of it!
This is a ridiculously easy one to make, all the ingredients get  thrown into the food processor, and it has walnuts in the actual cake to give it a yummy nutty taste and texture.  The buttercream icing I made in my mixer instead of the food processor as Nigella suggests, because I think making it in the mixer gives it a much lighter fluffier consistency.  Because I wanted a lighter buttercream I added a few tablespoons of milk to the recipe which makes it whip up nicely.  I also cut each cake in half to create a four layered cake, which worked well and there was plenty of buttercream to accommodate this change.
I had to buy instant coffee for this recipe (can't abide the stuff so never have it in the house) and it pains me to say that it works well in this recipe, you really can't get that strong coffee flavour without it (substituting freshly brewed espresso just doesn't work.....I have tried!!!!)
This cake served as a birthday cake for 3 of our lovely book club members....

and didnt last long....

Nigella Lawson's Coffee and Walnut Cake

For the sponge:
50g walnut pieces
225g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
200g plain flour
4tsps instant espresso powder
2 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
1-2 tbsp milk

For the Buttercream Frosting
350g icing sugar
175g soft unsalted butter
2 1/2tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 x 15 mls tablespoon boiling water
25g walnut halves to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/gas mark 4. Butter 2 sandwich tins (20cm) and line the bases with baking paper.
Put the walnut pieces and  sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder. Add the 225g butter, flour, 4 teaspoons espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and eggs and process to a smooth batter. Add the milk, pouring it down the funnel with the motor still running, or just pulsing, to loosen the cake mixture:it should be a soft dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a rubbery powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally the milk).   
Divide the mixture between the cake tins, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch.
Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking paper.
When the sponges are cool, you can make the buttercream, pulse the icing sugar in the food processor until it is lump free, then add the butter and process to make a smooth icing.
Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the processor, pulsing to blend into the buttercream.
(If you are doing this by hand sieve the icing sugar and beat it into the butter with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the hot coffee liquid.)
Place 1 sponge upside down on your serving plate. Spread with about half the icing, then place it on the second sponge, right side up (ie so the 2 flat sides of the sponge meet in the middle) and cover the top with the remaining icing in a ramshackle swirly pattern. This cake is all about old-fashioned, rustic charm, so don't worry unduly: however the frosting goes on is fine. Similarly, don't fret about some buttercream oozing out around the middle: that's what makes it look so inviting.
 Gently press the walnut halves into the top of the icing all around the edge of the circle about 1cm apart.


Rhyleysgranny said...

Linda this looks gorgeous. No wonder it diappeared so quickly :)

Anna's kitchen table said...

Looks AB FAB Linda!!! Better than the one in the book i'd say.

Kelly-Jane said...

It's lovely! Good tip about the milk, I'll remember that when I make this one. xx