Easy Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe

Last updated on March 3, 2024

Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 45 Mins

Nigella’s Coffee and Walnut Cake is a classic, flavorful bake that blends the aromatic depth of coffee with the crunchy texture of walnuts, all enveloped in a smooth, coffee-infused buttercream. Perfect for celebrations, afternoon teas, or as a comforting treat, this cake is a favorite for its sophisticated yet homely appeal. It serves 6-8 people, this delightful cake can be prepared and ready to enjoy in about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Through this article, I’ll guide you through the steps to create this beloved cake, offering practical tips and insights to help you achieve the perfect bake.

What is Nigella Lawson Coffee and Walnut Cake?

Nigella Lawson’s Coffee and Walnut Cake is a classic British cake that marries the aromatic bitterness of coffee with the nutty crunch of walnuts. It’s frosted with silky coffee-infused buttercream, making it an irresistible treat for coffee lovers and cake aficionados alike.

Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Irresistibly Flavourful: The combination of coffee and walnuts provides a rich, nutty flavor that’s both sophisticated and comforting.
  • Perfect for Any Occasion: Whether it’s a birthday, an afternoon tea, or just a craving for something sweet, this cake fits perfectly.
  • Simple Elegance: Despite its luxurious taste, this cake is surprisingly easy to make, with straightforward steps and common ingredients.

Ingredients Needed to Make Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake

To make Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake you need the following ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50ml strong espresso coffee, cooled
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 75g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the Coffee Buttercream:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp strong espresso coffee, cooled

To Decorate:

  • A handful of walnut halves
  • A dusting of cocoa powder (optional)

Instructions to Make Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake

Here is the step by step guide to make this recipe

Step 1: Preparing the Batter

  • Preheat the Oven: Begin by heating your oven to 180°C (160°C fan-assisted) or 350°F. Grease and line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with the caster sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. This introduces air into the batter, making the cake light.
  • Add Eggs and Coffee: Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with each to prevent curdling. Mix in the cooled espresso coffee for that deep coffee flavor.
  • Fold in Dry Ingredients: Sift the remaining flour and baking powder into the mixture. Gently fold in the chopped walnuts, ensuring not to overmix and deflate the batter.
  • Divide and Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool Cakes: Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 2: Preparing the Coffee Buttercream

  • Buttercream Base: Beat the softened butter until creamy. Gradually add the sifted icing sugar, beating well after each addition to ensure it’s fully incorporated.
  • Flavor with Coffee: Once the butter and sugar mixture is smooth and fluffy, mix in the cooled espresso coffee. Beat until the coffee is evenly distributed through the buttercream.

Step 3: Assembling the Cake

  • Layer the Cakes: Place one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread half of the coffee buttercream over the top.
  • Add Second Layer: Carefully place the second cake layer on top of the first. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the top of the cake.
  • Decorate: Arrange walnut halves around the edge of the cake for a decorative touch. For an extra hint of elegance, dust lightly with cocoa powder.

Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe Nigella

What Do I Serve With Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake?

Pairing the right accompaniments can elevate your Coffee and Walnut Cake experience, making it even more enjoyable.

Here are some delightful suggestions:

  • Freshly Brewed Coffee: Enhance the coffee flavor in the cake with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
  • Light Whipped Cream: A dollop of lightly whipped cream can add a soft, creamy texture that complements the cake’s richness.
  • Ice Cream: Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a lovely contrast in temperatures.
  • Walnut Liqueur: A small glass of walnut liqueur on the side can intensify the nutty flavors.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake

To ensure your cake turns out perfectly every time, consider these expert tips:

  • Quality Ingredients: Use the freshest walnuts and the best-quality coffee for a full-flavored cake.
  • Even Baking: Divide the batter evenly between the pans to ensure uniform baking.
  • Cool Completely: Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting to prevent the buttercream from melting.

Variations of Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake

This classic cake is wonderfully versatile.

Here are some creative variations to try:

  • Mocha Twist: Add cocoa powder to the coffee buttercream for a mocha flavor.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Substitute the self-raising flour with a gluten-free blend to make it accessible to everyone.
  • Vegan Version: Use plant-based substitutes for butter, eggs, and use a vegan frosting to cater to different dietary needs.

How do I Store Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

Proper storage is key to keeping your Coffee and Walnut Cake fresh and delicious. Follow these tips to preserve its flavor and texture:

  • Airtight Container: Store the cake in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
  • Room Temperature: Keep the cake at room temperature for up to 3 days if it’s unfrosted or has buttercream frosting.
  • Refrigerate: If the weather is warm or the cake is frosted, refrigerate it, but bring it to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.

How do I Reheat Nigella Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

Typically, Coffee and Walnut Cake is enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled. However, if you prefer it slightly warm:

  • Microwave: Warm a slice for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Be careful not to overheat, as it can dry out the cake.
  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F) and warm the cake for 5-10 minutes. Cover with foil to prevent it from drying out.

Nutrition Value (per serving, based on 8 servings):

  • Calories: Approx. 450-500 kcal
  • Fat: 27-30g (Saturated Fat: 15-17g)
  • Carbohydrates: 45-50g (Sugar: 30-35g)
  • Protein: 6-8g
  • Fiber: 1-2g
  • Sodium: 200-250mg


Can This Cake Be Made in Advance?

Yes, this cake can be made in advance. The sponge layers can be baked up to 2 days ahead and stored, tightly wrapped, at room temperature. The buttercream can also be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Simply bring it to room temperature and beat it again until smooth before assembling the cake. Fully assembled, the cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day before serving.

Can I Use Instant Coffee Instead of Espresso in the Cake?

Yes, you can use instant coffee as a substitute for espresso in this recipe. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant coffee in 50ml of hot water to create a strong coffee solution. Let it cool before adding to the cake batter and buttercream to ensure the flavor closely mimics that of espresso.

How Can I Make This Cake Gluten-Free?

To make a gluten-free version of Nigella’s Coffee and Walnut Cake, simply replace the self-raising flour with an equal amount of your preferred gluten-free self-raising flour blend. Ensure that the baking powder you use is also gluten-free. The texture might be slightly different, but the delicious flavors will remain the same.

What’s the Best Way to Decorate the Coffee and Walnut Cake?

For an elegant finish, use the coffee buttercream to frost the top and sides of the cake smoothly. Then, decorate with walnut halves and a light dusting of cocoa powder or finely ground coffee for a sophisticated look. For an added touch, you can pipe rosettes or swirls of buttercream around the edges.

Final Words

Nigella Lawson’s Coffee and Walnut Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavors that bring joy and comfort with every bite. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the kitchen, this recipe promises a delightful experience. Remember, the secret to a perfect cake lies in the love and care you put into making it. So, gather your ingredients, and let’s make baking memories that last a lifetime. Enjoy the process, and more importantly, enjoy your delicious creation!

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