If I had to pick one cake to represent England, it would have to be a Coffee and Walnut Cake. The Fullers Tea Room* version is mentioned in both Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited and Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate. That's a good enough pedigree for me! As it turns out the original Fuller's Walnut Cake had two layers with buttercream between them, as did my mothers coffee and walnut cake of my childhood, but having lost my mothers transcript, the recipe I found was for a single layer cake. I'll definitely have to try it again. However, if you want something smaller and simpler than a layer cake, this recipe will work out just fine. It's subtly walnutty,utterly butterly and not too sweet.Delicious with a cup of tea.This is a classic tea room cake as would have been served in the aforementioned Fullers who ran the tearoom for the London Coliseum,
The London Coliseum Tea Room - From a Postcard in 1904staffed by ladies in black and white uniform.Another celebrated tea room, Betty´s in Harrogate, the Yorkshire institution, turned 100 this year.
Growing up, this cake was a constant on our kitchen counter. My mum made it practically every week, and I would have a giant slice with a big glass of milk. It was one of the most well worn pages from her cookbook, and it wasn´t till recently that it suddenly came back to light in my head.
Coffee and walnut cake
This is a revised, more contemporary, version of one of the original sponge cakes I remember from my childhood. Now, though, since the advent of mascarpone, the icing is a great improvement. finely chopped walnuts give it amazing texture. A little cream cheese makes it especially smooth and delicious. My version however is topped with an easy espresso-infused buttercream icing. Fie on Nigel Slater or anyone else who advocates the use of instant coffee granules. I have flavoured both cake and frosting with strong homemade espresso
- 3/4 cup walnuts (divided)
- 1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter (softened)
- 1 cup sugar (granulated)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons strong espresso or very strong black coffee
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese (softened)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons strong espresso or very strong black coffee
Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts.
Spread frosting over the top and sides of the cooled cake.
Sprinkle the coarsely chopped walnuts over the top of the cake.