Classic Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe

Classic Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

25 minutes


8 people

This Classic Coffee and Walnut Cake was a bit of a revelation. Yes, you can put strong coffee in and the recipe reflects that, but the first round of development led to a cake that has a coffee kick in the icing (that gets stronger each day) but the cake itself had more caramel (deep, like Crème Brulee as opposed to super sweet) tones than coffee.

Coffee and Walnut Cake batter

Coffee and Walnut Cake Batter/Rattan Direct

The texture is like a really good carrot cake and we can only assume that the walnuts helped there! We did not toast the walnuts as some do but rather kept the flavor profile of the raw nuts instead of adding more toasty bitter notes, coffee has plenty of those.

Coffee and Walnut Cake batter from Rattan Direct

Coffee and Walnut Cake batter/Rattan Direct

The main question with a coffee cake is which coffee to use. We found that making a strong instant coffee is best, with its more rounded flavors. But feel free to experiment! If you want to aim for the original version, that only hints at coffee, then double the amount of water specified in the recipe. Remember you will need to leave time for the coffee to cool!

Classic Coffee and Walnut Cake from Rattan Direct

Classic Coffee and Walnut Cake/Rattan Direct

Want to see how it’s done? Click here to see the how-to video!

This recipe is courtesy of the chefs at Rattan Direct.


For the Cake

  • You will need 8-inch non-stick pie plates, and an electric whisk or standing mixer
  • 1 cup butter, left out to soften
  • 1 cup light soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee, made with 1/2 cup boiling water, cooled
  • A good pinch of table salt

For the Icing

  • 9 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Lemon zest from half a lemon
  • Extra coffee from the cake, see instructions


To Make the Cake

  • 1 Make up your coffee and leave aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350F
  • 2 Grease and line your pie pan
  • 3 Chop the walnuts with a large knife; if you aim for pieces about the size of rice grains, you will also get the requisite number of smaller bits too. They improve the texture of the cake. If you're very careful you could use a processor but take care not to end up with walnut butter
  • 4 Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Whisk on full speed until pale and fluffy. A good 10 minutes will do it; this step is vital for a soft moist cake
  • 5 Now, gradually add the beaten egg. If the mixture looks to curdle, add a tablespoon of the flour and beat well with the mixer
  • 6 Mix the flour with the salt and baking powder. Taking half of the coffee, and three-quarters of the walnuts, alternate between the flour mix and the coffee/walnuts, folding each in completely before adding the next
  • 7 Go carefully, with the edge of the spoon, to keep as much air as possible in the mix
  • 8 Divide between the pans, smooth out the tops and bake for 25 minutes
  • 9 Test the cakes, first by pressing on the top; it should bounce back but with a little give. Then stick a knife in and see if it comes clean
  • 10 Don’t be tempted to give it a little longer ‘to be on the safe side’. Obviously, you do not want the raw batter, but it is better to have it sink slightly when it cools than have a dry cake
  • 11 Let the cakes cool in the pans for ten minutes then turn out and cool completely

To Make the Icing

  • 1 Whisk the mascarpone (or cream cheese) with the lemon zest, rest of the coffee, and the powdered sugar
  • 2 Spread half of the icing on the bottom half, sandwich with the top and repeat. Scatter with the remaining walnuts
  • 3 Slice and serve. The icing gets deeper as the days go by, and the moist cake keeps really well


More TFC