Thursday, 23 February 2012

Coffee and walnut cake without the monkey poo!!

Fresh coffee and walnut cake
I have to admit, first and foremost, that this recipe is a few weeks old and has been parked in the back of my brain somewhere waiting for me to pull my finger out and write it up ever since. 

And now I’m revisiting the recipe I’m really wishing I had some of this cake right now to enjoy with a cup of smooth, velvety coffee.

Watching Raymond Blanc on the telly while I’m writing this isn’t helping either – he’s making babas with raspberries and cream and they look bloody lovely. 

It seems to come naturally to me now that whenever I find myself with a spare couple of hours at the weekend I’m inevitably going to end up baking, much to the delight of my work colleagues who often get the leftovers on a Monday, but hugely detrimental to mine and Paul’s health-kick.

Now coffee, the main flavour in this cake, is like marmite: you either love it or hate it, and in this house we definitely love coffee.

Random fact: did you know that the world’s most expensive coffee is made from animal poo?! According to the British Coffee Association, Kopi Luwak is a rare, gourmet coffee from Indonesia that’s made from coffee beans that have passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (a monkey-like creatre).

But don’t let that put you off as there isn’t a drop of monkey poo in sight here.  

My standards are set quite high when it comes to coffee cake having tasted many versions, including the coffee and hazelnut cake at Chester’s in Ambleside which is just to die for. But it’s great for a home-made afternoon tea-style treat and it’s really quick and easy to make.

175g unsalted butter
175g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
3 tbsp strong black coffee
175g self-raising flour
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
100g walnut pieces, plus extra for chopping and sprinkling on top

For the buttercream
100g unsalted butter
175-225g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp strong black coffee

Grease and line a loaf tin (or a round cake tin if you prefer).
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then gradually add in the eggs and beat well. Add the coffee. Don’t worry if it looks like it’s curdled at this stage, it will all come together once you've added the flour.
Sift in the flour and baking powder then fold lightly and evenly with a metal spoon. Fold in the walnut pieces.
Put the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until a skewer or knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Cream the butter until soft then beat in the sugar a bit at a time then add the coffee. Beat and add the milk if necessary to get the right consistency. 

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