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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

This classic coffee and walnut loaf cake is incredibly easy to make and combines rich espresso and walnut flavors in a beautifully soft and moist loaf cake. Topped with a delicious coffee, maple syrup icing, and candied walnuts, this simple recipe is my take on the traditional English tea cake. Perfect for afternoon or morning tea, picnics, and dessert.

Close-up of a coffee and walnut loaf cake on a wooden board.
Table of contents

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and easy to make
  • The moist loaf cake stores well
  • Coffee and walnut are a delicious pairing

For more delicious cake recipes, check out my German plum cake, earl grey lavender cake, German baked cheesecake, and spiced honey loaf cake.

Ingredients

  • Coffee – I use strong coffee made with my stovetop Moka pot. You can also use decaf or instant coffee. Simply make a strong brew as directed on the packaging and use the same amount as stated in the recipe below. Either way, make sure the coffee is cold or it will curdle the eggs.
  • Walnuts – Walnut halves or pieces both work well for this recipe.
  • Butter – I recommend unsalted butter for this loaf cake. If you’re using salted, simply omit the additional pinch of salt in the recipe.
  • Brown sugar – It gives the cake extra flavor and color but you can substitute it with white, granulated, or raw sugar as well.
  • Eggs – I recommend using free-range eggs if it’s within your budget.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla essence works well for this recipe but you can also use extract or fresh vanilla beans.
  • FlourAll-purpose flour is all you need to make this loaf but cake flour works as well.
  • Baking powder – This works as a leavening agent and gives the cake more volume and a fluffy texture.
  • Salt – A small pinch creates great flavor and balance. Don’t skip it!

Tips on how to make this loaf cake

  • Keep it cool: The espresso has to be cold before adding it to the cake batter and icing. Also, make sure the cake has fully cooled down before you add the icing. 
  • You can easily adjust the intensity of the coffee flavor by making your coffee stronger or weaker, or even use decaf.
  • Thoroughly grease the loaf tin with butter or line it fully with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the tin.
  • Keep an eye on the cake towards the end of the baking period and cover it with parchment paper if it looks too dark. Continue cooking the cake until a clean knife comes out clean.

Serving

This loaf cake is delicious on its own, but if you feel like some extra indulgence, you can’t go wrong with a dollop of whipped cream.

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FAQ

How long does the loaf cake take to cool?

It takes about 10 minutes for the cake to cool slightly in the tin for you to be able to touch it. After that, transfer it to a wire rack for it to cool completely.

How do you store an iced loaf cake?

You can store it in an airtight container on the bench for 3-4 days as the icing does not have soft cheese such as cream cheese in it. If you store it in the fridge it will dry out quickly.

Alternatively, you can freeze leftover loaf cake for up to 3 months in a freezer-proof container. Simply defrost it on the bench at room temperature.

Recipe

Close-up of a coffee and walnut loaf cake on a wooden board.

Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

Caro Jensen
A classic coffee and walnut loaf cake that's topped with a delicious coffee, maple syrup icing, and candied walnuts.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Icing 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine British
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 3983 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Loaf tin
  • 1 Small pan

Ingredients
 
 

Cake Batter

  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup espresso cold
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Coffee Maple Icing

  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted, softened
  • 2 tbsp espresso cold
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Maple Walnuts

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Instructions
 

Make the cake batter

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, cold espresso, and vanilla essence. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
    1/2 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1/4 cup espresso
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix them in well.
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 pinch salt
  • Carefully fold the walnut pieces into the cake batter.
    1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. To check if it is baked, insert a knife blade into the center of the cake. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Remove the cake from the tin after 5 minutes and let cool down on a rack.

Icing and Topping

  • To make the icing, combine the softened butter with the cold espresso and maple syrup. Slowly add in the icing sugar. Mix until the icing is smooth.
    2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp espresso, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp maple syrup
  • To maple roast the walnuts, simply add them to a small pan alongside the maple syrup. Set the heat to medium and stir constantly until the syrup bubbles and starts to crisp up on the walnuts. Remove from the heat and put the roasted walnuts straight into a bowl to cool down.
    1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • To garnish the cake, spread the icing evenly onto the top of the loaf. Decorate it with maple-roasted walnuts. Enjoy!

Notes

The espresso has to be cold before adding to the cake batter and icing. Make sure the cake has fully cooled down before you add the icing. 
Scroll up to the cream-colored box in the post for some additional tips on how to make this cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 3983kcalCarbohydrates: 516gProtein: 50gFat: 201gSaturated Fat: 83gPolyunsaturated Fat: 62gMonounsaturated Fat: 44gTrans Fat: 5gCholesterol: 632mgSodium: 1580mgPotassium: 1312mgFiber: 13gSugar: 351gVitamin A: 4038IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 676mgIron: 16mg
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