Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to my kitchen in 2019.
Did you have a good Christmas? I sure did, several cookbooks, a games console and several other bits and pieces. As for the New Year, I saw it in at home with my Mum, and we drank G&Ts. Have I mentioned that I like a G&T? No? Well now you know.
This year, the goals for this food blogger is to get back into the fitness and dieting. I have mentioned Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach a couple of times on here, and that’s whose workouts I’m going to be doing, with a bit of Tae-Bo and Shaun T’s Insanity thrown in for good measure. And, of course, walking my Jack Russell terrier, Bluebell.
As for the recipes, I will be trying to post a lot often this year. Hopefully there’ll be a lot more savoury stuff, not just cakes and treats. But don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that a little of what you fancy does you good, but not too much though.
Now, let’s get back into it…
If you were to ask me, when I was little, what my favourite cake was, I’d have answered “Coffee and walnut cake.” And after much thought, I’ve decided that coffee and walnut still is at the number one spot.
When Mum made it as I was growing up in the nineteen nineties, yes I know, I don’t look old enough, she always used Mary Berry’s recipe for coffee cake, and it always tasted great. Then as a young man in his twenties, I found that Mary’s recipe was too weak in flavour for me. Probably due to my daily ritual of grabbing a coffee from a well known coffee house on Southend High Street during a break at college.
I have tried several different recipes over the years whenever the craving for coffee and walnut took hold, but still found them lacking. Until Nigella published Kitchen, I saw that she had given a recipe for it, so I bookmarked it for the next time.
I made it, and it satisfied me. Strong enough to keep my craving happy, and easy to make so I didn’t end up cursing and pulling my hair out. Another thing I liked about this recipe was the amount of buttercream that fills and tops the cake. It makes a lot of buttercream. And I like my buttercream. 😉 Many of the recipes I have tried in the process only had a minimal amount of icing, no, no.
The one in the photo was made in September 2018. Just so you know.
Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake – makes a 20cm two-layer cake – adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
50g walnuts, plus extra halves to decorate.
200g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp espresso powder
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Grease and base-line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment.
Finely chop the walnuts, and put them into a large bowl along with the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and the espresso powder. Combine these together with a balloon whisk. Set this aside. Crack the eggs into a jug and set this aside too.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or another large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Once the butter and sugar are creamed, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Don’t forget to give the inside of the bowl a scrape down with a spatula now and then. Fold in the flour mixture gradually using a metal spoon or a spatula.
Divide the mixture between the sandwich tins, level the tops, and lightly tap the tins on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake, in the centre of the oven, for twenty-five minutes.
Leave the cakes in the tins for five minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Once cold, place one cake on your chosen cake stand, spread half the below buttercream over the top of this. Crown this off with the other layer of sponge, and spread over the remainder of the buttercream. Decorate with the extra walnut halves.
Coffee Buttercream – makes enough to fill and cover the top of a 20cm two-layer cake – adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
2 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
175g soft butter
350g icing sugar, sifted or whisked to get rid of lumps
Dissolve the espresso powder in one tablespoon boiling water, and set aside to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Pour in the cooled coffee, and beat well until light and fluffy.
Don’t worry if there are a few chunks of walnut that weren’t finely chopped, it gives the cake character.
The tip of combining the dry ingredients with a balloon whisk I got from Martha Stewart.
The buttercream in this recipe also works well with the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake.