Coffee-Walnut Cake with Espresso Rum Glaze

Why do you bake a cake? Maybe because you/your family love cakes. Maybe because you will have guests over. Or maybe because you have to gift somebody and want to add that personal touch to your gift. Why do I bake a cake? Well, because I feel like it. Yes, just that. I bake a cake because I want to. Because I have to. Because when I want to bake a cake I can't rest till the time I haven't baked it. There are very few things in this world which are as therapeutic as baking a cake. Watching Sherlock is one of them, but we won't go into that discussion today, okay? There's nothing more relaxing than baking a cake after a long, hard day at work...lying down on your couch curled up with a book and allowing the warm inviting odour of freshly-baked cake waft through your kitchen.
On to this particular cake now. It contains coffee. Lots of it. And walnuts. And the other usual cake stuff. Did I say coffee? Well, it is coffee heaven. If you're not a coffee-lover stop right here. This post is not for you. One warning though: Don't have it at night. (I licked off the leftover batter and couldn't sleep till 5.30 in the morning!)
In the sponge stage it is a perfect accompaniment to your evening tea, but boy, when you whip up that ganache, it takes the simple coffee-walnut cake to a new level altogether. Cream sugar and butter, the usual entente. Add to it more coffee. And a splash of dark rum (because cooking with alcohol is my newly-discovered passion). Whisk till smooth and glossy. For those who like your coffee light and milky, go easy on the quantity of coffee powder, and increase the butter amount. And for the rest of us who were born to drink strong, black coffee any time of the day or any time of the year, revel in the glorious silky bittersweetness of this strong, strong espresso glaze.

One last thing. This is a Nigella recipe (except the rum bit). So you know I wasn't faffing all along!
Recipe slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's Coffee Walnut Layer Cake

Serves: 8


For cake:
Walnuts: 50 gm
Espresso powder/instant coffee granules (soaked in 2tbsp milk): 2 tsp
Caster sugar: 100 gm
Flour: 100 gm
Butter: 100 gm
Olive oil: 30 ml
Eggs: 2
Baking powder: 2tsp
Milk: 4 tbsp + for soaking

For glaze:

Caster sugar: 150 gm
Butter: 100 gm
Espresso powder/instant coffee granules: 1 1/2 tsp
Dark rum (optional): 1 tbsp


1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and line a round baking tin with parchment and butter its sides.

2. In a blender, pulse finely the sugar and walnuts into a nutty rubble.

3. Now add the flour, butter, oil, eggs, baking powder, coffee powder and pulse till smooth. Add a tbsp of milk at a time to loosen the consistency of the batter.

4. Pour the batter in the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes till a cake-tester comes out clean and the top is springy to touch.

5. Take the cake out from the oven and leave on the wire rack to cool.

6. For the glaze now, pulse caster sugar in a mixer till there remain no lumps. Add butter to it and blend till smooth. In 2 tbsp boiling water, soak the coffee granules and add to the sugar-butter mixture when still hot. Blend. Add the rum and blend further till silky, smooth and shiny. Your glaze is done.

7. Now once your cake is cooled, take it out of your tin and with a rubble spatula coat the top and the sides of the cake with the glaze. You can serve immediately or refrigerate it for a couple of hours before you do so. Caffeine attack!

A Dessert a week challenge: Week 19


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