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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

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 perfect for morning or afternoon tea.

Oh coffee and walnut cake, how I love you.

Coffee & Walnut Loaf CakeI was reading an article on another blog, I don’t remember which, but they were talking about cooking classic recipes from an old Women’s Weekly cookbook and mentioned a coffee and walnut cake that sounded so incredible, I had to have it in my life. 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.

And the result is the ultimate morning or afternoon cake, eaten with a fork while enjoying a cup of tea. It’s a toast to our English heritage.

Its soft, with crunchy 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. It just might be my favourite cake of the moment!

So inspired by the classic flavours of our heritage, this is the perfect cake to make this Mother’s Day.

Coffee & Walnut Loaf CakeWomen’s Weekly recipes I think 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 signaled 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.

Coffee & Walnut Loaf CakeFilled with inspiration, I started working out the recipe to be dairy-free but still containing that classic flavour combination.

A staple in a lot of classic Australian recipes is to use a lot of sugar and butter. So naturally I needed to find a way to get a similar end result but without the butter. For this, I decided oil would be the perfect substitute giving it the moisture needed while providing a nice soft, open crumb and neutral flavour letting the walnuts, coffee and cinnamon flavours shine through.

The rest of the ingredients are pretty typical and should be standard in a bakers pantry. With the walnuts, to enhance their flavour, I did roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes and then let them cool before adding them to the cake batter. This is optional and not necessary if you’re nuts are already roasted, but it really helps the flavour of the cake so I do recommend it.

Coffee & Walnut Loaf CakeThis cake is super easy to make and you can easily just throw everything together in one bowl and bake. Whip up a simple coffee buttercream icing that perfectly balances the flavours with a hint of sweetness, top with even more walnuts for extra crunch and you have yourself a wonderful coffee and walnut loaf cake.

I love that this is a loaf cake because it makes storage, slicing and transporting so much easier than a traditional round cake.

I have also frozen it and when thawed either on the bench or in the microwave for 30 seconds per slice (because you don’t really want to wait longer than that for cake) it still tastes just as good as fresh from the oven.

This is a simple recipe inspired by the heritage of Women’s Weekly bakers over the years, with classic flavours that just taste great. Even if you are not the most experienced baker you will be fine with this recipe – I’ve made it a few times just to be sure!

So there is really no reason not to be enjoying this coffee and walnut loaf cake this Mother’s Day.

Coffee & Walnut Loaf CakeIf you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Coffee & Walnut Loaf Cake

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Morning Tea
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 8 people
Author: Sally


  • 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

Coffee Icing

  • 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.


Cooking time may vary based on the size of your loaf pan and even your individual oven. Cake is cooked when a skewer when inserted in the centre comes out clean. If not done after 50 minutes, check in 5 minute increments until cooked.
*I use Nuttelex Buttery to replace butter in most of my recipes as it is dairy-free and gives a 'buttery' flavour without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closest US alternative I believe is Earth Balance. Otherwise any dairy-free spread will work.
Not from Australia? Check out my US Conversion Guide

More recipes for Mother’s Day:

Cappuccino Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Lady Grey Cupcakes With Lavender Frosting
Chai Spiced Tea Cake
Orange Pound Cake

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Coffee & Walnut Loaf Cake - Pinterest

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  • Reply
    sheenam | thetwincookingproject
    May 11, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Oh this look sooo sinful!!! YUM

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      One of my favs!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Women’s weekly recipes were so much part of my life. That’s how I learnt to cook. And I’m sure I made a similar recipe. Coffee and walnut is just perfect and yes, coffee icing is the best. Love your photos.

    • Reply
      May 8, 2019 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks Marcellina! I think it’s incredible how they shaped so many Aussie kitchens 🙂 I would love to find the book with the original coffee & walnut cake recipe!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Yum Sally ,coffee and walnut is such a delicious combination!! This loaf cafe sounds delicious. I would love a big right now with a pot of tea!

    • Reply
      May 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks so much! It is the perfect accompaniment to a cuppa 🙂

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