SPICED WALNUT COFFEE CAKE

I think I was pushing 25 when I had my first coffee. I can’t remember having one during the entirety of my time at university (when I probably needed it the most), but like Pringles, once I started there was no stopping me. For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I often post about tea, in fact my blog name is a homage to how I take it – with milk and no sugar. Thanks to a certain six month old someone, coffee has now moved up to second place of my Most Drunk Drinks, sandwiched between tea at #1 and Robinson’s Orange Squash in third. Occaisionally, Diet Coke will be a reappearance, but I’m far too British to let tea or squash drop in the rankings.

So, once I discovered that coffee was, in fact, really good, I went a step or two further. I tried a coffee rubbed filet once. I’ve had my fair share of chocolate covered coffee beans and coffee ice cream, but nothing comforts quite like a cake. Cue my spiced walnut coffee cakes. The espresso icing brings lightness and zest to a rather heavy cake that is peppered with walnut chunks and cardamom seeds. This is the perfect lazy Sunday treat, or if you’re fancy or British, a good addition to afternoon tea.

INGREDIENTS
For the sponge:
3 oz walnuts
1 1/2 cups of all purpose/plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom (or 1/2 tsp ground and 1/2 tsp whole seeds)

For the icing:
1 cup confectioner’s/icing sugar
2 tbsp. espresso, chilled

Either put muffin cases in a 12 count muffin tin, or grease the insides of a 6 count mini loaf tin (I prefer the latter), and preheat oven to 300F.

Toast the walnuts in the oven for several minutes until aromatic and softened. Chop into smaller pieces and set aside.

Mix your flour, baking powder and baking soda and the spices, being sure to whisk in some air and to evenly distribute the products.

Using an electric whisk, mix the butter and add the eggs one at a time until fluffy. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients and the chopped walnuts and pour into the muffin or loaf tins.

Bake for 20 minutes until thoroughly cooked, and set aside to cool. While they’re baking, whisk the confectioner’s sugar and coffee together to form icing, and drizzle generously over the cooled cakes. Sprinkle a few smashed walnut pieces on top for decoration.

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