Step-by-step: Coffee Walnut Cake

This simple coffee walnut cake by AO Life can be whipped up in no time in a food processor – it tastes totally delicious and will wow any coffee lover!

Brought to you by AO Life

A step-by-step tutorial for making a delicious coffee and walnut layer cake

This simple coffee walnut cake by AO Life can be whipped up in no time in a food processor – it tastes totally delicious and will wow any coffee lover! For an impressive finish, invest in a decorating turntable stand and a set of pattern scrapers.


Serves 8-10 Appliances used:

  • mini food chopper
  • food processor
  • stand mixer

For the cake:

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  • 165g (5 1/2 oz) plain flour
  • 165g (5 1/2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 80g (3oz) walnuts (50g (1 3/4 oz used in the cake, the rest for decoration)
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • a little butter and flour to grease the cake tins
  • a handful of walnut halves, to decorate

For the buttercream:

  • 500g (1lb 1oz) icing sugar
  • 160g (5 1/2 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) double cream
  • 2-3 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • a little hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 x 18cm (7in) round cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper. Grease the paper and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Put the walnuts in a mini food chopper and pulse until finely ground.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, 50g (1¾oz) of the ground walnuts (reserve the rest for decoration), coffee powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed.
  3. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and pulse again until combined.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla paste, then process for 2-3 minutes until the batter is smooth. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula to make sure everything is well mixed.
  5. Divide the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cakes are ready when springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then gently turn the cakes out of the tins. Leave them to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Put the icing sugar, butter and coffee in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade.
  7. Start mixing on the lowest speed setting, gradually adding a little hot water to avoid an icing sugar snow storm! Once the ingredients are roughly combined, increase to the maximum speed setting and mix together for 4-5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add the double cream and continue to beat together until incorporated.
  8. Place the bottom cake layer on a plate, then add a generous layer of frosting. Sandwich together with the second layer and cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting – this is your crumb coating and doesn’t need to be neat. Chill the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  9. Add a generous layer of frosting over the sides of the cake. Use a cake pattern scraper (also called an icing comb) pressed parallel to the side of the cake, gently pressing the edge of the scraper into the icing to create the pattern. This is best achieved on a turntable stand.
  10. Put the remaining buttercream into a small piping bag and pipe a pattern around the perimeter of the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining ground walnuts and add a few walnut halves to decorate.

coffee walnut cake

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