I’m off to the French Alps for my annual snow fix which as many of you will know means a whole heap of snow and a healthy dollop of cooking – nothing better than a fresh cake or great food after a day out and about in a snowy-wonderland. And having had a little clean up on the Promenade I’ve rediscovered a few favourite recipes that I’d like to share while I’m away.
For those of you who are newbies to the Promenade I’d like to say hi and welcome, to old friends I hope you enjoy this blast from the past! First off is a classic coffee and walnut cake which is pretty popular around here. Simple and quick, and as Marcella, recently noted is one of the few recipes she’d seen that actually has coffee in it! And if you feel the cake has previously lacked trimmings then it’s your lucky day as I’ve updated the recipe.
bon appétit mes amis !
I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect coffee and walnut loaf cake for some considerable time. Most of the recipes I’ve come across are for round cake tins, involve extraneous ingredients and have tons of icing and sugar. What I wanted was a not too sweet cake mix that I could use in a loaf tin; you know the kind perfect for a pound cake tin and easy to slice up and take with you onto the slopes. Ok not everyone will be taking a slice of cake with them when they go skiing, but some of us do.
And when finally I managed to get the right balance of coffee and walnuts I made another cake to celebrate and to thank the ski shop guys. They work long hard hours, are knowledgable, kind and helpful, generous with their time and infinitely patient. Oh and bloody funny. So a thank you cake was the order of the day, besides I know they all have a sweet tooth (I’ve witnessed them devour a tin of Quality Street in record time).
The recipe I used was one I already had, a banana cake I make with those ucky-browny-black bananas that have “gone”. The quantities are perfect, simple but good ingredients used and very easy to make. Where I’m currently staying doesn’t have a food processor/mixer so it was back to manual cake making. The strong-arm of the baker was put into good use;. a large bowl, wooden spoon and a whisk and I was off. You of course can use your super fast and fancy mixers if you like!
Classic Coffee and Walnut Loaf Tin Cake
- 100g butter (softened)
- 150g brown granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of cold espresso style coffee (a small espresso cup full) or 1 heaped teaspoon of instant coffee with about 3 tablespoons of hot water to dissolve it
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 80g chopped walnuts
- 3 whole walnut halves for decoration
- Turn the oven onto 160
- Grease a 2lb loaf tin very well with butter and line the base of the tin with greaseproof paper
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until they are smooth and soft
- Add an egg at a time and beat well
- Add the small cold cup of coffee (about 3 tablespoons) and stir in
- Sift the flour along with the baking powder and bicarbinate of soda gently stir and mix
- Now mix the walnuts into the batter – be gentle and don’t overwork the batter
- Pour the batter into the greased loaf tin
- Place 3 walnut halves gently on top of the batter at even intervals
- Cook for a 30 minutes until the cake is thoroughly cooked. If it starts getting a bit burnt on top cover it with some greaseproof paper
- Turn out of the loaf tin and cool
- Alternatively wrap the cake in some clingfilm or tin foil and go to your local ski shop. Say hi and thank you. They’ll be ever so happy!!
Easy Creamy Coffee Buttercream
For a Coffee Buttercream filling that is not too sweet and is perfect for a coffee and walnut loaf cake you will need –
- 60g butter (softened)
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 tsp of coffee (instant or espresso style)
- 1 tsp of boiling water
To make Coffee Buttercream filling –
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth – you may or may not need the extra teaspoon of water, see how you go when making the Buttercream, you want it to be of a spreading consistency but not too runny.
Wait until the cake is thoroughly cooled – a good couple of hours, slice the cake in half lengthways and then using a knife or spatula gently smooth the coffee buttercream filling over one half of the cut cake. Place the other half on top. And voila – ready to share and eat!