Walnut Espresso Cake

Walnut Espresso Cake

Sometimes I do feel I am taking the ‘let them eat cake’ motto a bit too literally. October is the month for many birthdays and there are in fact days, where there is more cake in the house than bread!

So this walnut cake was a special request by the brother, who said he craved a walnut cake that our mother made in our childhood days. My mother and I scratched our heads in utter confusion – we don’t ever recall doing this. But he was insistent. So of course I had to look into it – and scouring over my old cookbooks, I found nothing. I made up my own version of what a walnut cake should be like, and this is it! Ground walnuts, strong espresso, and a rich, but thin layer of espresso chocolate icing. Since it was a birthday cake I went ahead and made it into a double layer, but by all means, do it in one tin if you wish.

This walnut cake is a mixture of ground walnuts and flour, whipped in a fairly liquid batter. This is what makes for a light and airy cake, and the strong espresso is only mild in taste, but it makes up in balance in the espresso frosting, with dark melted chocolate. This is ideal with cup of cappuccino.

P.S. After a few bites, my brother said this wasn’t it, but it could have been a banana walnut loaf cake. So, be prepared for the one next!

The Recipe
Serves 8


  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup strong espresso
  • Espresso Chocolate Icing
  • 1/3 cup butter, soft
  • 2 tsp espresso
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 25 g dark chocolate, melted


  • Heat the oven to 180C grease and line two 9” pans.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until lightened in colour, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until
  • Add coffee and whisk. The batter will be very liquid.
  • Add the baking powder, flour and walnuts and fold into the batter, careful not to overmix.
  • Pour equal amounts of batter into the two cake tins. Bake for 25 minutes and remove and allow to cool within pan for 5 minutes before turning over into the pan.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Whisk the soft butter, dark chocolate, icing sugar and espresso into a soft frosting. Set aside until cake cools completely.
  • Place one cake layer on your serving dish.
  • Place half the amount of frosting and spread with a cake spatula dipped in some water.
  • Carefully place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting on top.
  • Garnish with some walnut halves.

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.