When it was time for our Children in Need cake stall last year one of our regular “customers” requested a coffee and walnut cake so I volunteered to make it and chose a recipe which used coffee essence rather than granules so I went out and bought a bottle of Camp coffee.
I hadn’t had Camp coffee for decades. It was the coffee we always drank at home when I was a little girl. I was curious to remind myself how it tasted so I decided to make myself a cup.
The taste took me right back to my childhood. We would have coffee made with a mixture of hot milk and water, with sugar. And only on a Saturday or Sunday morning and it would be accompanied by a home-made bun, a chocolate biscuit or, if I was very lucky, a custard tart from the village shop .
The cake was easy to make. I used a recipe from the Hairy Bikers “Mums Still Know Best” as the basis but it’s basically an ordinary sponge cake with coffee flavouring.
The mixture had that characteristic yellowy colour when the coffee essence was added. It baked beautifully and once the butter icing was on it looked like a proper home-made cake, if you know what I mean.
It was one of the best sellers and I will certainly make one again for this year’s cake stall. It sold out completely so I didn’t get to taste a slice for myself. But I have gradually been drinking my way through the bottle of Camp coffee and really enjoying it.
Some of my cakes at the cake stall, clockwise from the left: fruit cake in a nutshell, coffee and walnut cake, moist coconut sponge, victoria sponge, hummingbird cake.
(I was not responsible for the scones in the foreground as I am hopeless at baking scones for some reason.)
For the cake
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
225g SR flour
1tsp baking powder
2tblsp coffee essence
65g walnut halves (or ready chopped walnuts)
For the icing *
150g softened butter
300g sifted icing sugar
4tsp coffee essence
* This makes a lot of buttercream! You probably could use 100g butter, 200g icing sugar and 3 tsp coffee essence and it would still be enough!
8 walnut halves
Preheat the oven to 190°C/180°fan. Grease and line the bottoms of two 20cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
Chop the walnut halves small or blitz them in a food processor. Put on one side.
Put all the remaining cake ingredients into the processor or electric mixer and combine until creamy. Add the chopped walnuts and combine briefly.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the tins, remove the baking paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Whilst the sponges are cooling, make the icing. Put the icing sugar, butter and coffee essence in a food processor or electric mixer and combine until smooth and creamy.
When the cakes are completely cold, turn one upside down and spread its bottom with half of the icing. Put the other cake on top and spread the other half of icing on that. Swirl some kind of pattern in the icing and arrange the walnut halves on the top.
Serves 8-12, depending on how big you like your slices of cake !!