Easy James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe

James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 Mins Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

Welcome to my baking guide, where I’ll show you how to create James Martin’s Coffee and Walnut Cake. This recipe pairs the deep flavors of coffee with the rich texture of walnuts, resulting in a delicious cake that’s sure to impress. Ideal for dinner parties, special occasions, or a treat for yourself, it serves 6-8 people and can be made in 1 to 1.5 hours.

In this article, I’ll walk you through each step of making this delightful cake, offering practical tips to make the process smooth and enjoyable.

What is James Martin’s Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe?

James Martin’s Coffee and Walnut Cake is a classic confection that brings together the aromatic depth of coffee with the nutty crunch of walnuts, all within a moist, tender sponge. Crowned with silky coffee-flavored icing and garnished with walnut pieces, this cake offers a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that appeal to both coffee enthusiasts and cake lovers. It’s a testament to the timeless appeal of combining coffee and walnuts, resulting in a sophisticated dessert that’s perfect for any occasion.

James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Irresistible Flavor Combo: The rich, aromatic coffee paired with the earthy crunch of walnuts creates a taste sensation that’s both comforting and indulgent.
  • Elegant Presentation: With its beautiful layers and smooth icing, this cake is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate.
  • Versatility: Ideal for a wide range of occasions, from afternoon tea to celebratory events, making it a go-to recipe for any baker.
  • Satisfying Texture: The contrast between the soft, moist cake and the crunchy walnuts offers a delightful mouthfeel.
  • Simple to Make: Despite its sophisticated appearance, the recipe is straightforward, making it accessible to bakers of all skill levels.
  • Customizable: Easily adaptable with various fillings and icings to suit your taste preferences.

Ingredients Needed to Make James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

To make James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake you need the following ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 100g walnuts, chopped, plus extra for decoration

For the Coffee Icing:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Now, let’s move on to the step-by-step instructions on how to bring this delightful cake to life.

Instructions to Make James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

Here is the step-by-step guide to making this cake:

Step 1: Preparing the Cake Batter

  • Preheat Your Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4). Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and fluffy. This process introduces air into the batter, creating a light and tender cake.
  • Add Eggs: Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a spoonful of the flour to stabilize it.
  • Incorporate Flour and Coffee: Fold in the self-raising flour and baking powder gently, avoiding over-mixing. Stir in the dissolved coffee mixture, ensuring the batter is uniform in color.
  • Fold in Walnuts: Gently fold in the chopped walnuts, reserving some for decoration. The goal is to evenly distribute them throughout the batter without deflating it.
  • Divide and Bake: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins. Smooth the tops and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 2: Preparing the Cake BatterAssembling the Cake

  • Cool the Layers: Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. This prevents the cakes from becoming soggy.
  • Prepare the Coffee Icing: While the cakes cool, prepare the icing by beating together the softened butter and sifted icing sugar. Gradually add the dissolved coffee until the icing is smooth and spreadable.
  • Assemble the Cake: Once cooled, place one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread half of the coffee icing over the top. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining icing over the cake. Use a palette knife to smooth the icing, creating swirls for a decorative effect.
  • Decorate: Finish by sprinkling the reserved chopped walnuts over the top of the cake for added texture and a professional touch.

James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

What Do I Serve With James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake?

  • A Cup of Coffee: Enhance the coffee flavors in the cake by pairing it with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
  • Whipped Cream: Add a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream for a creamy contrast.
  • Ice Cream: Serve alongside a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream for a cold, creamy texture that complements the cake.
  • Dessert Wine: A sweet dessert wine or a fortified wine like Port can complement the rich flavors of the cake beautifully.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

  • Fine Coffee Powder: For a smooth flavor, ensure your coffee is finely ground, or use a high-quality instant coffee that dissolves completely.
  • Toast Your Walnuts: Before adding them to the mix, lightly toast the walnuts to deepen their flavor and add an extra crunch.
  • Even Baking: Divide the batter evenly between the pans and check for doneness towards the end of baking time to avoid overbaking.
  • Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift the flour and baking powder to incorporate air and ensure a lighter cake texture.
  • Cool Completely Before Icing: To prevent the icing from melting, make sure the cake layers are completely cool before spreading the coffee icing.
  • Consistent Coffee Flavor: Use the same type of coffee in both the cake batter and the icing for a consistent flavor profile.

Variations of James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake

Espresso Walnut Cake

Intense Flavor: Boost the coffee intensity by using espresso powder instead of regular coffee for both the cake and icing.

Chocolate Coffee Walnut Cake

Chocolate Twist: Add cocoa powder to the batter and a layer of chocolate ganache between the cake layers for a luxurious chocolate coffee version.

Gluten-Free Coffee Walnut Cake

Inclusive Baking: Substitute the regular flour with your choice of gluten-free flour blend to cater to those with gluten sensitivities.

Vegan Coffee Walnut Cake

Plant-Based Version: Use vegan substitutes like plant-based butter and flax eggs, and ensure the coffee icing is made with vegan-friendly ingredients.

How do I Store James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

Room Temperature

  • Short-Term Storage: Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


  • Longer Freshness: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


  • Extended Storage: Freeze-wrapped slices for up to 3 months; thaw at room temperature before serving.

How do I Reheat James Martin Coffee and Walnut Cake Leftovers?

  • Microwave Method: Heat a slice for 10-15 seconds for a quick warm-up.
  • Oven Method: Place slices on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and warm in a preheated oven at 175°C (350°F) for about 10 minutes.

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

  • Calories: Approximately 450 kcal
  • Fat: 27g (Saturated Fat: 12g)
  • Carbohydrates: 49g (Sugars: 30g)
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sodium: 180mg


Can I use regular flour instead of self-raising flour?

Yes, you can use regular (all-purpose) flour as a substitute for self-raising flour. For every cup of self-raising flour required, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour mixed with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. This mixture will mimic the leavening effect of self-raising flour.

How can I make the coffee flavor stronger in the cake?

To enhance the coffee flavor in the cake, you can increase the amount of instant coffee powder used in the recipe. Alternatively, consider using espresso powder instead of regular instant coffee for a deeper coffee taste. Adjust according to your preference, starting with an extra teaspoon or two, and tasting the batter as you go.

What’s the best way to store the cake to keep it moist?

The best way to store the cake and keep it moist is by placing it in an airtight container. You can store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you need to store it for a longer period, refrigerate it in the container, and bring it to room temperature before serving to ensure the best flavor and texture.

Can I freeze the Coffee and Walnut Cake?

Yes, Coffee and Walnut Cake freezes well. Wrap individual slices or the entire cake in cling film or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

Final Words

As we wrap up this recipe for James Martin’s Coffee and Walnut Cake, I hope you’ve found the steps easy to follow and the tips helpful. This cake, with its rich coffee flavor and crunchy walnut pieces, is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavor and texture. Perfect for any occasion, it’s sure to become a favorite in your baking repertoire.

I encourage you to try making this cake at home, whether for a special event or a simple treat for yourself. The joy of baking comes from the process as much as the final product, and I believe this recipe offers both satisfaction and a delicious outcome. Happy baking and I look forward to sharing more recipes with you.

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