Coffee & Walnut Cake

Delicious coffee and walnut cake recipe with coffee-flavored buttercream. A rich and creamy layer cake topped with walnuts and coffee beans for that extra caffeine boost.

coffee walnut cake slice

What is the origin of coffee and walnut cake?

I made this coffee and walnut cake for my birthday. I know that it sounds a bit sad that I made my own birthday cake. But I really wanted to have a coffee cake on my special day. Walnuts on coffee cake are one of my all-time favorite classic desserts. This beautiful coffee cake has always been a big hit with my friends and family. Every autumn/winter as the weather deteriorates, we make lots of these cakes. There’s something I find cozy and comforting about the taste of coffee cake, that leads me to make it in the autumn. Not saying that I don’t eat coffee cake any other time of year lol.

coffee walnut cake

I love how the sweetness from the buttercream and the moist, light, and airy sponge cake complement the bitterness you get from the walnuts and coffee beans. They taste absolutely delicious together, the perfect combination.

There is some confusion over the origins of coffee cake. In North America, it seems widely accepted that the term “coffee cake” means a type of cake to eat with coffee. Whereas in the United Kingdom and Ireland, coffee cake is usually a coffee-flavored layer cake. Buttercream icing in the UK and Ireland coffee cakes are often flavored with instant coffee as an ingredient. Whereas in the USA and Canada cakes such as “My Grandma’s of New England Original Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake” are more commonly referred to as coffee cakes. These North American cakes don’t tend to actually contain any coffee. To answer the origins of coffee cake, we really need to set a widely accepted definition of the term “coffee cake”.

How long does coffee and walnut cake keep?

These types of buttercream cakes can be kept for around 3 days. They should be stored in airtight containers and kept cool. Keeping the coffee walnut cake longer than 3 days will start to detract from its taste as the sponge will start to lose its moisture.

What can I substitute for walnuts in a coffee cake?

The walnuts are used as a slightly crunchy topping, so there are many substitutes such as almonds, cashew nuts, or even oats or granola. You could also add a bit of color with cherries or there is the go-to dessert substitute which is always chocolate.

How to make coffee buttercream?

To make coffee buttercream dissolve 2 teaspoons of coffee in 1 teaspoon boiling water. Using your stand mixer cream the butter and icing sugar for a few minutes, until it’s light and airy. Lastly stir in the dissolved coffee until the buttercream is well combined.

Previous Next What equipment I used to make this coffee cake

To make coffee cakes and most cakes in general I use a stand mixer as it makes light work of creaming the butter for both the cake batter and the buttercream. It takes about 4-5 minutes to cream butter properly, doing this by hand can really make your arms ache. Using a pipping set helps to get an even layer between the layers of the sponge and helps cover the top and sides perfectly. Lastly, Palette knives are key to getting the smooth finish on this coffee cake.

What are the benefits of walnuts?

Did you know that Walnuts are classed as a superfood? They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid, and fiber. Walnuts also contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. There are quite a few health benefits from eating walnuts regularly in your diet. Not that I’m saying that my coffee and walnut cakes are healthy because they’re not. Hopefully, no one eating cakes is under the illusion they’re eating something healthy.

Have you tried chocolate covered coffee beans?

These dark chocolate-covered coffee beans are quite the trending snack. Lots of coffee lovers trying to lower their dairy and sugar intake by drinking coffee are moving to this addictive snack. You still get the intense caffeine boost that you would get from your normal coffee but in a smaller snack form. Eating coffee beans like this is said to hit you with that needed caffeine boost even quicker. As while you chew on them you absorb caffeine through your gums. If you're a coffee and chocolate lover I think they're definitely worth a try!

coffee walnut cake recipe

Coffee And Walnut Cake

Jennifer Katie
This coffee and walnut cake recipe is moist, light, airy and the coffee buttercream compliments the walnuts perfectly.
4.9 from 15 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
cooling time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, British
Servings 16
Calories 409 kcal


For the sponge

For the coffee buttercream frosting


To make the sponge

  • First thing to do is preheat your oven to 180°c or 350°f then grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
    Preheat oven 180 degrees
  • Next dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules in 1 tablespoon of boiling water, set to one side to cool.
    2 tbsp Instant coffee, 1 tbsp Boiling water
  • Roughly chop 50g of walnuts and then set to one side
    50 g Roughly chopped walnuts
  • Grab yourself a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, and beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until it is light and airy.
    200 g Caster sugar, 200 g Unsalted butter
  • While the butter and sugar are being mixed, whisk 4 eggs in a jug. Then add in the eggs a little at a time until incorporated.
    4 Medium Eggs
  • Next add in your flour and baking powder and mix again.
    1 tsp Baking powder, 200 g Self-raising flour
  • Lastly add in your chopped walnuts and dissolved coffee and give it one last really good mix making sure that everything is incorporated
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two cake tins and bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 20 minutes or until golden. To test if the cake is cooked, poke a cocktail stick or skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is done if there is a tiny bit of cake batter stuck to the pick pop it back into the oven for a couple more minutes.
  • Once cooked place both cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the frosting

  • Dissolve 2 teaspoons of coffee in 1 teaspoon boiling water.
    2 tsp Instant coffee, 1 tsp Boiling water
  • Cream the butter and icing sugar for a few minutes, until it’s light and airy.
    200 g Unsalted butter, 400 g Icing sugar
  • Stir in the dissolved coffee until the buttercream is well combined.
  • Put the bottom layer of your cake onto a cake stand or plate, add a good amount of buttercream to the first layer then add the second cake layer on top.
  • Add a good amount of butter cream to the top and sides of your cake and using a palette knife smooth over your buttercream until there are no imperfections.
  • Lastly decorate your coffee and walnut cake anyway you wish, this time I used walnuts and coffee beans. I hope you enjoy this recipe as must as me.
    Walnut halves and coffee beans to decorate
    coffee walnut cake


Tips and Tricks
Using a stand mixer makes light work of creaming the butter for both the cake batter and buttercream. It takes about 4-5 minutes to cream butter.
You can store this coffee and walnut layer cake for 2-3 days at room temperature if it is covered with a cake tin.
You can also store it in the fridge in an airtight container, but you’ll need to bring the cake back to room temperature before serving, as the coffee-flavored buttercream goes harder in the fridge.


Calories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 4gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 46mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 685IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword autumn, baking, birthday cake, cake, celebration cake ideas, Coffee, coffee and walnut cake, coffee beans, coffee cake, coffee cake with walnuts, coffee flavoured cake, coffee in cake, coffee walnut cake, walnut, walnut and coffee cake, walnut coffee cake
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If you are looking for more cake recipe inspiration, check out some of my celebration cakes in the dessert section. Take a look at my strawberry drip cake or my “cake of dreams” both of these cakes taste absolutely heavenly.

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