• Charlotte Emily

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Updated: Jul 8

Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake

This coffee and walnut cake is a classic... and who doesn't love a classic cake? With walnuts in the sponge, hidden in the centre of the frosting layer and added on top, there's no shortage of flavour - especially with coffee beans added on top too! What's more, the icing isn't the usual buttercream... it's a cream frosting. Made from whipping cream and soft 'cheese', this frosting brings out the other flavours, whilst adding a little hit of it's own.


This cake is light and fluffy, not too sweet and has the coffee and walnut flavour carried throughout. The cream frosting adds a slight sweetness, but not that much, which means this cake as a whole is perfect for those that don't particularly like overly sweet desserts. With only two bowls, a mixer and two cake tins needed, this cake requires no fancy equipment. This cake is simple and easy... and once it's baked and the frosting is made, can be put together and decorated in just a few minutes.



Jump to the Recipe ↓


Coffee and walnut cake with a slice taken out.

 

Can I use a buttercream instead of a cream cheese frosting?

Of course you can, if that's what you'd prefer. This coffee and walnut cake isn't too sweet, so the cream cheese frosting matches that... but that's also why a sweet buttercream would be lovely against the cake. I would choose a vanilla buttercream, so it doesn't take any focus away from the coffee and walnut flavours.


Can I add more coffee?

Definitely! I have used 1 tbsp of instant coffee in the recipe, which gives a mild coffee flavour in the final cake, but you can add more if you'd like it t be stronger. Just be aware that the unbaked cake mix will taste more of coffee than the final cake, so even if you add more coffee and think maybe it's too strong, don't worry as it won't be that strong once baked!



What's the milk and apple cider vinegar mix?

This mix is essentially a vegan buttermilk; the apple cider vinegar is added to the milk and whisked together. It's then set aside for at least 5 minutes to allow the milk to curdle, as unpleasant as that sounds! This helps with the egg-like texture in the cupcakes. The plant milks that work best are almond and soya - but I use oat milk and even though it doesn't curdle quite as much, it still works well in these cupcakes.


What if I only have one cake tin?

Don't worry you don't need to have two cake tins, you can make it with one, it will just take an extra hour as you will need to use it twice. When it comes to dividing the mixture evenly, you can measure the weight of the mixture and divide it by two to make sure they're the same, or you can just eyeball it, which will work just as well... it doesn't need to be perfect!



Do I need any fancy equipment?

Nope not at all! All you need is two bowls and two 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch cake tins (but down worry if you only have one). You can make these by hand, but I prefer to use a mixer, so that is the only 'fancy' equipment that you'll need if you don't want to cream the butter and sugar by hand. You may want a stand or handheld mixer for frosting, as its just a lot easier to let the machine do the work for you.


How do I store this cake?

This cake should be kept in an airtight container, but due to its size, it may just be easier to pop it on a tray and carefully wrap it in foil. It can be stored like this for up to a week in the fridge, as the soft 'cheese' and cream should be refrigerated. But as long as the cake is covered, it shouldn't affect the texture of the sponge at all.



 

What goes into this coffee & walnut cake?

  • Dairy-Free Milk - when mixed with the apple cider vinegar, this forms a vegan buttermilk, which creates a softer sponge with a lovely texture.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar - this is mixed with the dairy-free milk to create the vegan buttermilk mixture.

  • Instant Coffee - we need coffee for a coffee cake... the stronger the coffee the better, as it will add more flavour to the cake (and add the coffee colour).

  • Caster Sugar - the sugar provides the sweetness to the cake.

  • Brown Sugar - this provides a richer flavour to the cake, as well as creating a darker sponge (along with the coffee).

  • Dairy-Free Butter - baking block butter works best, for taste and texture in baking, so I'd stick with that.

  • Plain Flour - this makes up the base of the cupcakes and gives them the texture.

  • Bicarbonate Soda - a small amount of bicarbonate of soda will help the cupcakes to rise as they're baking.

  • Walnuts - we need walnuts in our coffee & walnut cake! You can have them any size you'd like, but broken up into halves and quarters will work best in the sponge. On top of the cake they can be whatever size without affecting the cake, so go for what you prefer.

  • Dairy-Free Whipping Cream - the whipping cream makes up the cream frosting, with the soft 'cheese'. It's this cream that makes the frosting light and airy once whipped.

  • Dairy-Free Soft Cheese - this, along with the whipping cream, is what makes up the cream frosting. This is what stiffens the whipping cream, though depending on what soft 'cheese' you go for (as to how soft it is) you may need to add a little icing sugar. I use the Plain 'Oatly Creamy Oat Spread' as it's not too soft, so the cream frosting will hold its shape between the sponge layer.

  • Vanilla Extract - this boosts the other flavours in both the cupcakes and the cream frosting.

  • Coffee Beans - these are just for decoration, but they do add a hit of coffee when eaten with the cake!


This coffee and walnut cake is a classic... and who doesn't love a classic cake? With walnuts in the sponge, hidden in the centre of the frosting layer and added on top, there's no shortage of flavour - especially with coffee beans added on top too! What's more, the icing isn't the usual buttercream... it's a cream frosting. Made from whipping cream and soft 'cheese', this frosting brings out the other flavours, whilst adding a little hit of it's own.


This cake is light and fluffy, not too sweet and has the coffee and walnut flavoured carried throughout. The cream frosting adds a slight sweetness, but not that much, which means this cake as a whole is perfect for those that don't particularly like overly sweet desserts. With only two bowls, a mixer and two cake tins needed, this cake requires no fancy equipment. This cake is simple and easy... and once it's baked and the frosting is made, can be put together and decorated in just a few minutes.


 


Coffee & Walnut Cake


Total Time : 1 hour 20 mins - 25 minutes

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Baking Time : 50 - 55 minutes

Decorating Time : 15 minutes

Makes : 1, two-tiered cake


Ingredients

– For the Cake –

  • 300g Dairy-Free Milk (I used Oat)

  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tbsp Instant Coffee

  • 230g Caster Sugar

  • 100g Brown Sugar

  • 100g Dairy-Free Butter

  • 375g Plain Flour

  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda

  • 100g Walnut Chunks

– For the Cream Frosting –

  • 200g Dairy-Free Whipping Cream

  • 180g Dairy-Free Soft Cheese

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Handful of Walnuts (for the centre and top of the cake)

  • Handful of Coffee Beans


Method

– For the Cake –

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan and line your 6.5 inch x 6.5 inch cake tin with parchment paper.

  2. In a bowl or jug, whisk together the milk, apple cider vinegar and instant coffee. Leave it untouched whilst you make the rest of the cake batter (the aim is for the milk and vinegar to curdle, as unpleasant as that sounds! Don't worry if it doesn't curdle too much though, it will still work.)

  3. Cream the butter and sugars together, then add the flour and bicarbonate soda, mixing until they are combined.

  4. Slowly add in the milk mixture, making sure to mix it until it’s all combined into the cake batter. Be careful not to over-beat the batter, as too much air in the mix can cause the cakes to sink in the centre when they come out of the oven (something that I’ve done too many times!)

  5. Fold in the walnut chunks and mix until they are as evenly distributed as possible.

  6. Spoon the batter into the cake tins, dividing it in half between the two tins and place them in the oven for 50 - 55 minutes.

  7. After 50 minutes test that they are cooked by popping a skewer or small knife gently into the centre of the cakes... it should come out clean, but if not it needs a little longer in the oven.

  8. Once baked, take the cakes out of the oven and remove them from their tin. Whilst they're still hot, gently remove the parchment paper and place them on a rack to cool completely before decorating.

  9. Once the cakes are cool, choose which will be the top and which will be the bottom layer. Cut the top off what will be the bottom sponge, to get a flat and even top. For the top layer, you may want to flatten the centre of the top, as it will make it easier to decorate. Then pop them to once side whilst you make your frosting.

– For the Cream Frosting –

  1. Combine the whipping cream, soft 'cheese' and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until thick (I use a standing mixer on a high speed with a whisk attachment).

  2. Pop about two thirds of the mixture onto the top of the bottom sponge and evenly spread it to cover the sponge as evenly as possible. Then remove a little of the frosting from the very centre and pop your walnuts in.

  3. Place the top sponge on top of the frosting and add the remaining frosting to the top of that sponge. Gently spread it about to cover as much of the top as you'd like, then finish with more walnuts and coffee beans... and enjoy!



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