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Old Fashioned Coffee & Walnut Cake

Test Bake
We decided to to do a 'high tea' to cater for my daughters christening. As my lovely mum supplied the christening cake I made cupcakes, sugar cookies and a double layer, with butter-cream icing, coffee and walnut cake. I wanted to make something that would look gorgeous on a raised glass cake stand, slice easily, and taste super. The idea was to have a centrepiece of home baking. I found a lovely recipe in the Primrose Bakery Cookbook and went for it. Not wanting it to bake blind I did a test bake on the Friday and the 'real deal' on Saturday. Both cakes turned out well. I prefer the decorating on the second. I will be using this recipe again as it made a decorative, tasty and fragrant cake. The sponge was superb, best I've managed to date and the cake was beautifully marbled inside. Even better...it all got eaten.
Party Bake

Coffee & Walnut Cake

For the cake
175g unsalted butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, free-range or organic
175g self-raising flour, sifted
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
75g walnuts
1.5 teaspoons instant coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons boiling water

For the syrup
1 tablespoon instant coffee
50g golden caster sugar
55ml boiling water

For the coffee butter cream icing (you need 1 batche although the recipe says 1.5
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in a small amount of hot water
350g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 170 C.Grease and line two 20cm cake tins. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.

Add the flour and baking powder and beat well. Grind the walnuts in a food processor for about 30 seconds or so - they should not be too fine. Add the coffee and ground walnuts to the batter and mix again but for no more than 3-4 seconds. The mixture should have a marbled effect and it is very important not to overmix or you will take all the air out of the cakes. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until raised and golden brown. Insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes - it should come out clean if it is cooked. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in their tins.

Make up the syrup by combining the ingredients in a jug and stirring well to ensure the sugar dissolves completely. After 10-15 minutes, prick the sponges with a fork, brush on the syrup and leave it to soak in.

When you are ready to ice the cakes, carefully turn them out of their tins and peel the greaseproof paper from the bases. Place one cake on a plate and spread a thin layer of coffee buttercream over it. Place the second cake on top and use the rest of the buttercream to cover the upper surface. Decorate with walnut halves around the edge. I used chocolate covered crispies as they look prettier.

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