This easy coffee and walnut loaf cake is packed with freshly brewed coffee, cinnamon and crunchy walnuts and topped with a dairy-free coffee buttercream, making it the perfect classic cake recipe for morning or afternoon tea.
A while ago I was reading an article on another blog (I don’t remember which) where they were talking about cooking classic recipes from an old Women’s Weekly cookbook and mentioned a classic English coffee walnut cake that sounded so incredible, I knew I needed to make it. I immediately tried to search for the recipe online, but without much luck I decided to try and create what I imagined it to be myself.
Tthe result is the perfect slice of cake for morning or afternoon tea, best enjoyed eaten with a fork while enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee.
This loaf cake is soft, with chopped walnuts in every other bite. It’s got hints of coffee without being too strong and it’s got warmth from cinnamon bringing it all together. Every time I make it I’m reminded that this English classic is one of my all time favourite cake flavours.
Women’s Weekly recipes are a staple in many Australian homes. Some of my favourite memories of my childhood are sitting and playing with my pink tea set, watching while my Grandmother took a break from the chores and cooking to read her Women’s Weekly magazine. It was a touch of glamour in her everyday routine.
What I love about Women’s Weekly is the legacy that they have provided in Australian kitchens. Like many people my age, my childhood birthdays were signalled by the excitement of choosing a cake from the Women’s Weekly book, you know the one with the train cake on the cover?
For me, the joy and excitement that comes from baking stems from these memories that Women’s Weekly had a little hand in, and all of that leads into this recipe today, my version of this traditional cake. That and the fact that when I was young my mum used to put coffee icing on everything and that was amazing.
This coffee walnut loaf is the perfect cake for all occasions, birthday’s, Mother’s Day, or taking in for a work morning tea or weekend BBQ.
To make this coffee and walnut cake you’ll need a few pantry staple ingredients.
- Plain flour – known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Baking powder – to give the cake lift and keep it nice and light.
- Cinnamon – pairs perfectly with the coffee flavour.
- Canola oil – to keep the crumb soft and tender.
- White sugar – for sweetness.
- Eggs – room temperature, to bind and help the cake stay soft and light.
- Dairy free milk – such as almond, oat or soy.
- Strongly brewed coffee – to add flavour to the cake and the icing. You could also use instant coffee dissolved in boiling water.
- Walnuts – roast them for 10 minutes before adding to the cake for the best flavour. Make sure to roast some extra for decorating!
You’ll also need some dairy free butter, icing sugar and more coffee to make a simple frosting to serve with the cake.
This coffee and walnut loaf is super quick and easy to make. You’ll need a couple of bowls and a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
Start by lining and greasing the loaf tin, making sure to leave a slight overhang of the baking paper to make it really easy to remove the cake from the pan.
In your first bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk to combine and aerate. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar followed by the eggs.
Once well combined, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the coffee and milk until a thick batter forms. Mix until just combined then stop – you don’t want to overmix your cake batter as this will result in a dense cake.
Gently fold through your walnuts that have been roasted, cooled and chopped before pouring the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
This cake is going to cook for a longer time at a lower temperature, so place the cake in a preheated oven at 160°C for 50 minutes or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. If your cake is starting to get a bit dark on the top but it’s still not cooked all the way through, lightly cover the top with aluminium foil and continue baking.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling you can make your frosting by beating together the dairy free butter and icing sugar with a couple of tablespoons of coffee.
The quantity in the recipe makes enough for a light covering which is perfect for those who aren’t big fans of sweet buttercream frosting as it’s just enough to balance the flavour of the cake. But if you want a more generous amount, simply double the quantities.
Top with more chopped roasted walnuts and then slice and serve!
Yes, this is one of my favourite cakes to freeze as doing so doesn’t alter the flavour or texture at all.
You can either make the cake ahead of time and freeze it as a full loaf either frosted or unfrosted, or you can freeze the individual slices for when you need a morning or afternoon treat.
Simply wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then freeze for up to 3 months.
I haven’t tried myself but if I were to I’d expect a 1-1 gluten free flour blend to work with similar results.
This loaf cake recipe is dairy free as written. I haven’t tried myself but you could try replacing the eggs with flax-eggs to make it vegan.
This cake will last 3 days in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will last a little longer in the fridge but after this time the cake will start to get dry. If you want to store it for longer, following the freezing instructions above.
More loaf cake recipes:
Coffee & Walnut Loaf Cake
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup dairy free milk such as almond, oat or soy
- ¼ cup strongly brewed coffee
- ½ cup walnuts roasted and chopped
- ½ – 1 tablespoon dairy free butter
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
- Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and line a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl add flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Use a whisk to combine until evenly mixed through. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add oil and sugar and whisk together. Add in eggs and continue whisking until all combined. Slowly add in dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the coffee and milk, mixing in between each until the batter comes together. It will be quite thick. Fold through walnuts with a spatula and pour mixture into the lined and greased pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the coffee icing. Add the butter and icing sugar to a bowl and begin to beat with an electric handheld mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted. Slowly add the coffee ½ a tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached, being careful not to make it too thin. If that happens, just add more icing sugar to thicken.
- Spread icing over the top of the cooled cake and top with more crushed walnuts if desired. Slice and serve.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.