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Coffee and walnut cake November 5, 2009

Posted by Helen in cakes.
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This is one of my very favourite recipes from one of my very favourite cooks – Nigel Slater.  He says this is what he would choose for his last meal, and I think he may have a point. It’s a very light and airy sponge with perfect coffee and nutty flavours, and the rich sweet buttercream icing is a perfect match.

Ingredients
175g unsalted butter
175g unrefined golden caster sugar
65g walnut pieces
3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules

For the icing:
200g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules
60g walnut pieces

Line, grease and flour two 21cm loose-bottomed sponge tins. Set your oven for 180C.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electrix mixer until they’re light, pale and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a bowl, break them up with a fork and add them a little at a time to the butter and sugar, beating well after each addition.

Mix the flour and baking powder together and mix into the butter and sugar gently, with the mixer on a slow speed or by hand, with a large metal spoon. Dissolve the coffee granules in 1 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the cake. Chop the walnuts and fold gently into the cake.

Divide the cake mixture between the two cake tins, smooth lightly, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

To make the icing, beat the butter until soft and pale with an electric beater, then add the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Stir 1 tbsp boiling water into the coffee granules then mix it into the buttercream. Fold in the walnut pieces.

As soon as it is cool, turn one half of the cake upside down on a plate or board, spread it with a good third of the buttercream, then place the second half on top. Spread the remaining buttercream on top and round the sides. (I find that I prefer really thick icing between the layers and on top of the cake, rather than around the sides.)

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