Saturday, 15 February 2020

Coffee And Walnut Cake - The Chelsea Way

I am nothing without my morning coffee, I have to tell you.  So a coffee cake - i.e. a cake flavoured with coffee, not just to have with coffee - is a winner for me.  And yes, I do sometimes eat cake for breakfast.  Life is short my friends, so live it up.  I have been wanting to try out this recipe from Chelsea Winter's book Homemade Happiness for ages.  So Mr P. gave me a helping hand on the weekend.  Hubby is a marvellous home cook and sous-chef, and happily did the grunt work, like buttering, flouring and lining the elephantine cake tin for me:-)  

moist and full of coffee flavour

Chelsea won the New Zealand Master chef competition in 2012, and has put out five cookbooks since then.  And managed to get divorced, find a new bloke, and have a baby in the space of about fifteen months!  Anyway, back to the cake ...  This is a big mama of a cake, and you need a biiiig cake tin.  In fact, we had to go out and buy one at the kitchen shop so I could make this.  

Serves a multitude!


for the cake:

125g. (1 cup) walnuts

500g. (3¼ cups) plain flour

3¼ tsp baking powder

250g. (8 oz) butter, at room temp.

275g. (1½ cups) brown sugar

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract/paste

3 tbs instant coffee + 1 tsp caramel essence, or use 3 tbs caramel-flavoured instant coffee

2 tbs just-boiled water

125 mL (½ cup) warm milk - Mr P. microwaved it for 40 seconds

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt

for the icing:

3 tbs instant coffee + ½ tsp caramel essence OR 3 tbs caramel-flavoured instant coffee

3 tbs just-boiled water

200g. (7 oz) butter, at room temp.

555g. (3 cups) icing sugar, sifted

for the toffee nut topping: 

Chelsea says this is optional, but I reckon don't leave it out!

125g. (1 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tbs golden syrup

25g. (a scant 1 oz) butter

a pinch of salt


Turn your oven to 170C

Butter and flour a 25cm. (10 in.) cake tin, and line the base with baking paper

Blitz the nuts to a fine crumb in your food processor

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl

Whisk the nuts in with the flour, and set aside

Cream the butter and sugar for five minutes - I used my electric hand beaters, but a stand mixer would be perfect for this

Once the mixture is very pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla

Grab a mug, spoon in the coffee/caramel essence and mix well with the boiled water

Stir in the warm milk and baking soda; it will foam a little

Now mix everything together gently - the creamed butter and sugar, the coffee mixture, the flour and the yoghurt

Pour/spoon the batter into your beautifully prepared cake tin, and smooth the surface

Bake in the lower half of your oven for 1 hour, or till a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean - Chelsea says don't open your oven door till the hour is up!

Let the cake rest in the tin for fifteen minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cake rack till completely cold

For the icing, stir the coffee and boiled water in a mug, and let it cool to lukewarm

Grab a big mixing bowl, place the butter in it, and start beating in the icing sugar with electric beaters (or a stand mixer if you have one)

Beat for five to ten minutes - you want it really pale and smooth

Add the coffee and keep beating till well mixed; put it aside while you make the topping

For the topping, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat for five minutes - keep an eye on it!  

Let it cool, while you slather the icing over the top and sides of the cake

Throw on the lovely nuts, and serve with coffee :-)

Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days 


Get yourself a head start, and do some of the work the day before, like I did.  I read over the recipe, measured the ingredients out,  and sorted out the equipment

You can buy caramel essence in cake-decorating shops

zap those nuts, baby!

coffee, milk and baking soda fizzing up

ready for stirring

it looks lumpy but it's all okay

smoothed over and ready to bake

baked @ 170C for 1 hour

beat the icing really well

till smooth and airy

stir the topping mixture for five mins.

stir for five minutes

icing on, and nuts strewn over the top

eat up, my hearties

                  artwork © Sherry's Pickings


  1. Caramel and coffee would be a fabulous flavor treat for me, but I'm afraid we don't need a humongous cake around here. Too much temptation. We are cutting back on sweets, alas.

    best... mae at

  2. I can only imagine how good this coffee cake tasted! That icing and nutty topping look freaking good and addictive :-)

  3. I love coffee and walnut cake! And despite the fact that I don't drink much coffee, I love coffee flavoured things! :D I like the look of the thick layer of fluffy icing.

    1. i love lots of icing and a bit of cake:-) so this was perfect.

  4. OMG that looks delicious!!! But I have zero patience for baking so I need to pay someone to bake one and overnight it to me. LOL

    1. thanks IA. it was very delicious and we ate it all up! well with a bit of help from friends. worth trying.

  5. Oh my goodness! I want that right now. Bookmarking this for my March non keto day.

  6. What a dynamo Chelsea Winter is! Your cake looks fabulous Sherry xo

  7. I’d eat cake for breakfast, Absolutely. Wow, this is visually stunning and I KNOW it’s delicious.

    1. thanks tina. it was delicious - any time of day or night:-)

  8. Yum! I love that toffee nut topping - it sound amazing!

  9. What a delicious and moist cake with a gorgeous topping. This is definitely a cake to make, thank you for sharing.

    1. hi merryn
      it was indeed moist and flavoursome. thanks for dropping by the blog.

  10. Hi Sherry, that toffee nut topping is enough to make me fall in love with this! Thanks! And thanks, too, for popping over to Marmelade Gypsy and leaving such a nice comment!

    1. thanks jeanie. the nut topping was definitely not an option, IMHO:)

  11. This is such a great cake to have for breakfast. No need of coffee.

  12. That nut topping is definitely not optional! I love coffee it cinnamon cakes to pair with coffee, or cakes with coffee flavor in them. Both sound pretty darn delicious! This version? Well this takes it to a whole new level. Good thing you got that new cake pan!

    1. yes indeed david. tho i'm not sure when i will use it again. i tend to make 20cm/8 inch cakes.

  13. Amazing big mamma one :-) I cannot imagine to start a day without strong coffee but it seems to me that's not the only thing we have in common :-) LOOOOVE the cake !

    1. thanks davorka. yep strong coffee in the morning is a must. and so is this cake...

  14. We've been known to have cake for breakfast, too. :-) This looks fabulous -- excellent flavors. Thanks!

  15. What a cake. I think I'd be eating this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is one I have to try. Thanks Sherry!

  16. Now I feel like I need to watch the Kiwi Bake Off - this looks the business! I agree that cake for breakfast is totally a thing and I love anything with coffee and walnuts. You did good!

  17. I have never had coffee to drink, but I am tempted to try this because I think the flavor would mellow out significantly. (I know, it’s hard to believe that someone in their 60s has never had coffee or tea in his life!)

    1. yes that is very surprising david. no coffee, ever?? this cake is quite strong in coffee flavour so maybe not the best one to start with :-)

  18. Cake for breakfast?? Why not.

    I'm not a huge coffee drinker but this does look good!


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