Indulge in the irresistible combination of coffee and nutty goodness with this light and fluffy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake. The sponge cake is subtly flavoured with coffee, and the rich and smooth coffee buttercream is perfectly complemented by the crunchy walnuts, making it a tempting treat for any occasion.
Coffee and Walnut Cake is a classic favourite amongst village hall fetes, school bake sales and afternoon tea gatherings. I've made this recipe in a loaf tin as it's simpler than making two round cakes and sandwiching them together with buttercream.
I've also made this version without adding walnuts to the sponge cake - this is purely a personal preference, as I find there are plenty on top of the Coffee Buttercream.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Nostalgic comfort - a traditional tea-time favourite cake that is super easy to make.
- Light and fluffy sponge with the right amount of coffee, so it's not overpowering.
- Sweet, creamy buttercream, offset by the bitterness of coffee and walnuts.
Note: The full quantities are shown in the recipe card below.
Coffee flavouring - instant coffee granules mixed with boiling water gives the cake a richer flavour. You could substitute for espresso if you don't have any coffee granules on hand.
Unsalted butter - unsalted butter gives you complete control of the overall flavour of your recipe, as the salt content in different butter brands can vary a lot.
Caster sugar - also known as superfine sugar. Caster sugar dissolves more easily and completely in batter, but you could substitute it for granulated sugar.
Eggs - use large eggs that are at room temperature.
Self-raising flour - also known as self-rising flour.
Baking powder - for an extra lift.
Icing sugar - also known as confectioners sugar or powdered sugar.
Walnuts - roughly chopped into finer pieces with a knife.
Step by Step Instructions
Note: This is a summary of the instructions. The full ingredients and instructions are shown in the recipe card below.
To make the Coffee Sponge
1. Beat the softened butter in a bowl with an electric whisk until soft and creamy. Add the caster sugar and beat for approximately 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a small spoonful of flour with each egg to prevent curdling. Add the coffee flavouring.
3. Mix until combined.
4. Fold in the flour and baking powder until just combined; be careful not to over-mix.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. It should take between 45-60 mins, but time varies on the oven.
6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
To Make the Coffee Buttercream
1. Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Stir in the coffee flavouring, then spread over the cooled cake. Top with crushed walnuts, and enjoy!
FAQs & Expert Tips
Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.
Yes. I like to freeze individual slices. Wrap them well with cling film or tin foil, then store them in an airtight freezer bag. They will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
The best pairing for Coffee and Walnut Cake is a cup of tea or coffee!
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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake
- Loaf tin measuring 22cm long x 11cm wide x 7cm deep. Or one of similar proportions.
- electric hand-held whisk.
For the Coffee Sponge
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, note 1
- 225 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 225 g self-raising flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
For the Coffee Buttercream Icing
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 300 g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water
- 75 g walnuts, roughly chopped
For the Coffee Sponge
- Preheat the oven to 160℃ fan / 180℃. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. I use one that measures 22cm long x 11cm wide x 7cm deep. You could use a similar size.
- Dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Mix well until dissolved and set aside to cool.
- Beat the butter in a bowl with an electric hand whisk until soft and creamy. Add the caster sugar and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a small spoonful of flour with each egg to prevent curdling. Beat in the coffee flavouring, then sift over the remaining flour and baking powder and fold in, being careful not to overmix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and lightly smooth the top with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.
- Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Timing will vary on the oven. Once baked, leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the Coffee Buttercream
- Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water and set aside to cool.
- Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy - this stops it from flying everywhere. Beat in the coffee flavouring one teaspoon at a time until combined.
- Spread the buttercream over the cooled coffee loaf cake, then sprinkle over the chopped walnuts.