there's been a serious amount of baking around here. in all honesty, it's about all i have the energy for. i can break it up into segments and sit down when i need to take a break. and it's been great to have treats for people when they pop over for coffee. and it's been nice to have something for us too!
le boy's absolute favourite is coffee walnut cake. i only became familiar with this cake in the last year or so, a decided treat to be found in national trust tea shops and a must buy after a rousing walk in the hills! well, there's not much walking going on these days (although that is getting better). but regardless, le boy has been so helpful, so wonderfully serving, that it seemed only appropriate to make him a favourite cake. this will make another appearance in the kitchen very soon i'm sure. it lasted for days and was unbelievably delicious, and incredibly moist. i baked it on a wenesday, but of course, didn't have icing sugar, so iced it on a friday, and then it was still fantastic enough for saturday lunch!
the recipe is adapted from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. i have yet to experience a poor recipe from hummingbird, either in store or from this cookbook. it makes a fantastic gift and i heartily recommend it for any bakers in your lives - last minute christmas gift? (it's also available in north america via amazon and uses US measurements rather than UK weights).
coffee walnut cake
(adapted from the hummingbird bakery cookbook)
2 tbsp instant coffee granules (espresso powder makes a great rich taste!)
450 g (2 cups) unsalted butter at room temperature
450 g (2 1/4 cups) caster sugar (white sugar)
6 large eggs
450 g (3 1/2 cups) plain flour (all-purpose or cake flour)
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup of walnuts crumbled, plus half walnuts to decorate (optional)
1 quantity frosting
250 g (2 1/4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
80 g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
25 ml (2 tbsp) heavy cream
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant espresso mixed with 2 tbsp boiling water
25 cm ring mould (known as a bundt pan in north america)
to make cake:
to make 'coffee essence' put instant coffee and 170 ml (3/4 cup) of water in a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce by half. set aside to cool completely.
preheat oven to 170 C (325 F)
beat together butter, sugar and coffee essence. add eggs one by one, mixing well and scraping the bowl down as you go. beat in flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, mix until batter is light and fluffy. fold in crumbled walnuts.
pour mixture into prepared mould and even with spatula. bake for 40 minutes in preheated oven or until the sponge feels firm to the touch. (do not open oven door during early cooking or you will collapse the the cake). cool slightly in mould before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
to make frosting:
beat icing sugar and butter until mixture comes together. in a small bowl combine cream, vanilla and instant espresso. add wet ingredients to sugar and beat until light and fluffy (5 minutes).
cover top of cooled cake with frosting, decorate with walnut halves, serve on a pretty plate.