coffee and walnut cake

Coffee and Walnut Cake

This is one of my all time favourite cakes & I don’t even like coffee!! Beautifully moist cake with the perfect flavour partnership of coffee & walnut.

coffee and walnut slice

This was one of the recipes I baked for our wedding cakes. I made it many times in the run up, always tweaking something or other until it was just right. It’s never a cake I could become bored of eating!!!

coffee and walnut slice cut out

Because I needed the cake to stay moist for a few days, I ground the walnuts into the cake mixture to help add and maintain moisture. There is no reason why you couldn’t also add in some larger walnut pieces if you still like that added crunch.

slice coffee and walnut

I mix most of this recipe in a food processor which makes it quick and easy to prepare. I found that separating 1 egg and whisking the egg whites to soft peaks made the sponge very light. I did try doing this with more than 1 egg white but the sponge became so light that it had a tendency to sink.

top of coffee and walnut

I covered the entire cake in icing as it helps to seal in the moisture and keep the cake as fresh as possible. If you prefer, you could ice in between the sandwich layers and on top.

Coffee and walnut cake with sandwich icing

For our wedding, I made this 3 days in advance; it was still as good as new.

Coffee and walnut sandwich cake


adapted from ‘Coffee and walnut layer cake’ by Nigella Lawson


For the sponges:

  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream:

  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 2½ tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • walnut pieces


1. Preheat the oven 160°C fan/180°C. Grease and line 2x 20cm deep sandwich tins.

2. Blitz walnuts and sugar in a food processor.

3. Add the butter and blitz again.

4. Separate 1 egg. Add 3 eggs (1 at a time) and the egg yolk to the mixture and blitz until smooth.

5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

6. Sieve in the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda. Fold together gently.

7. Whisk the remaining egg whites and fold in gently (start with one spoonful to loosen the mixture).

8. Add the milk, the mixture should be a soft, dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to.

9. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch.

10. Cool the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.

11. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft then sieve in the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

12. Dissolve the espresso powder in boiling water and add it into the buttercream along with the milk. Mix well.

13. Place 1 sponge upside down on your cake plate.

14. Spread with about 1/4 of the icing; then place the second sponge on top, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover with the remaining icing.

15. Scatter the top with walnut pieces.

Lainey x
Wedding cake table


6 thoughts on “Coffee and Walnut Cake

    • Hi Jo,
      Thanks for your question, sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. Yes, you could absolutely make this cake in 3 6″ tins instead. Because it’s quite a deep cake anyway there will probably be enough mixture. If not, try adding another egg and adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. You will need to reduce the cooking time, perhaps 20 minutes. Can I suggest that you cook one sponge on its own first while you see how long it needs to cook and that way it won’t ruin all three sponges if you get it wrong! Good luck and let me know how it goes.
      Lainey x

      • Brilliant thankyou!
        If I cook one sponge first will the remaining cake mixture be ok to sit on the side while it bakes?
        Many thanks ? X

        • You’re welcome Jo. Yes, the rest of the mixture should be ok. I wouldn’t leave it too long because the raising agents won’t work so well but will be ok while you cook another sponge.
          Lainey x

    • Hi Lauren, thanks for your question. Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you. I used 2x 20cm cake tins for the recipe (I tend to use slightly deeper tins as there is quite a lot of mixture and the cake rises quite a bit). Hope this is helpful. Lainey x

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