Coffee and Walnut Cake

Coffee and Walnut Cake

Recently I have been thinking about my Grandma a lot and how she was such a massive influence on my life. I found some of her letters recently and that hand writing transported me back 35 years in an instant. I remember with such fondness my Grandma. She taught me to sew, do my times tables and to secretly watch Emmerdale Farm. Oh the bliss of being despatched to her house in the school holidays, without my brother, for a week of grand daughterly indulgence.  I’ve been thinking about her so much and it’s because I too am now a grandma (I know- you can hardly believe it can you!)

We would take little day trips out. The market was a favourite where Fred, Grandma’s next door neighbour, would escort us ‘ladies’ to the Friday market on the bus (“Public Transport dear, it’s best if Fred comes with us”) where you could buy all manner of things. As a thank-you grandma would make Fred a cup of tea when we got home. He had to stand at the back door on several sheets of newspaper, was served his tea in a mug and given a digestive biscuit that he wasn’t allowed to dunk. We had cup and saucer after he had taken his leave sitting at the dining room table. Fred liked to leave the tea bag in the cup so that it got stronger and stronger towards the end and this I think was her main objection.

He was allowed into the living room on high days and holidays but only if he changed out of his ‘mucky’ trousers first. He still had to take his shoes off and sit on the paper though. Fred’s favourite was my Grandma’s Coffee and Walnut cake for which he declared a passion. I think his real passion was for my Grandma, Kathleen. The last time I saw Fred was at her funeral and he looked broken. There was no one to boss him about anymore. He died himself 10 days later and I often wonder whether he has managed to progress past Heavens back door and onto a newspaper-less Sofa.

Grandma’s Coffee and Walnut cake: Ingredients

225g butter, softened

225g caster sugar

300g Self-raising Flour

2tsp baking powder

4 free range eggs

4 tbsp milk

150g walnut pieces (chop half of these and scatter into the cake mix before baking)

3 tbsp. instant coffee dissolved  into 1 tbsp. boiling water


Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, gradually add the beaten egg and the flour and the baking powder (do not overbeat)

Add the walnut pieces (75g) into the mix, stir in the diluted coffee and add the milk if you need to.  Divide the mixture between two lined sandwich tins (20cm) and bake in the middle of the baking oven (3/4/5/oven Aga’s) for 20-25 minutes.

2 oven Aga: grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven with the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners above.  Remember not to put the cold plain shelf in until just after you have popped the cakes in.

Conventional ovens : 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 for about 25 minutes.

Once baked allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to continue cooling before icing.

To make the icing:

1 tbsp. instant coffee

½ tbsp.. boiling water

75g butter softened

150g icing sugar, sifted


Beat all together and layer between the cooled cake, leaving enough to decorate the top with icing and walnut pieces.


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Posted in Aga Tips, Memories of an Aga, Recipes

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