Baking a Coffee, Cardamon and Walnut Loaf Cake

This week I have used another fabulous recipe from the Fiona Cairns book ‘Seasonal Bakes’. As you can probably already tell, I am slightly obsessed with this book. However, I did make a few changes to create a loaf cake version of this wonderful bake. Coffee and Walnut loaf cakes are too very common. It is certainly a firm family favourite of ours. My aim my baking loaf cakes is always to challenge the traditional recipes and create something slightly more exciting. So when I read this recipe, I couldn’t wait to experience the flavour addition of cardamon.

My own personal addition is the coffee cream centre. This is my first loaf cake that I have created a sandwich filling. It worked really well with this bake. However it does mean the shelf life shortens as we are using fresh cream.

 I found this recipe to be perhaps the most fiddly one yet. But if you are like me, you don’t mind a bit of this now and again. Sometimes, if a cake is too easy to make, I don’t feel challenged enough and have to make another! For instance taking the cardamon out of the pods does take a little time, so this could be prepared before hand to save time. I would also recommend you prepare the caramelised walnuts in advance and store them in the fridge to ensure that you do not spend all day creating this cake. Unless you are like me and enjoy spending a whole Saturday baking!

Ingredients 

 For the cake:

  •  175g unsalted butter, really soft, in pieces, plus more for the tins
  •  50g walnuts, roughly chopped 
  • 15 cardamom pods 
  • 175g caster sugar 
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp of boiling water and cooled 
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  •  50g ground almonds 
  • 125g self-raising flour, sifted 

 For the caramelised walnuts:

  • 50g walnut halves 
  • 100g caster sugar

 For the Coffee Cream: 

  • 125ml Double Cream
  • 2 tbsp Camp Coffee 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 

 For the buttercream:

  • 5 cardamom pods 
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, in pieces 
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tsp Camp coffee essence (or 1 tbsp instant coffee, prepared as above for the cake) 
  • 1 tbsp double cream

Method 

 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter two 20cm round sandwich tins and line with baking parchment. Keeping them separate, place the nuts both for the cake and the caramelised nuts on baking trays and roast for six minutes. Cool. 

 2. Lay the walnut halves for the caramelised walnuts on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Have a sink or washing-up bowl of cold water to hand. Put the sugar and 100ml of cold water in a saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a gentle heat, stirring with a metal spoon. Increase the heat to a boil, stop stirring and occasionally brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, to prevent crystals forming. Boil until the mixture turns a beautiful caramel gold and has thickened. Plunge the base of the pan into the cold water, then, using a teaspoon, drizzle the caramel over the walnuts on the tray and leave to set.

3. De-seed all 20 cardamom pods for the cake and buttercream, grind the seeds to a powder in a mortar and pestle and sift it to remove husks. Keep one-quarter aside for the buttercream. 4. In a food mixer (or in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk), cream together the butter, sugar and coffee until very light and fluffy (a good five minutes). Gradually add the eggs, then the almonds and cardamom. Gently fold in the flour and chopped nuts; don’t over-mix. Divide between the tins and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. 5. When the cake is completely cool, cut the cake length ways in two even halves. Whisk the double cream, camp coffee essence and vanilla extract together until you form stiff peaks. Then pipe the cream inside one half of the loaf. Carefully place the other half on top.

6. To make the buttercream, in a food mixer (or in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk), beat the butter and icing sugar for a good five minutes. Add the vanilla extract, cardamom, coffee and cream and beat until smooth. Spread over the top of the loaf cake and decorate with caramelised walnuts and shards of the caramel, to make a dramatic decoration.


 Stay tuned for next week when I will be sharing with you my Red Velvet Mini Loaf cakes. 

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