This is not like a regular coffee cake; it’s denser as it’s made with the melt-and-mix method. I use a delicious coffee extract by the vanilla company Nielsen-Massey, which is available from Sainsbury’s for £4. If you can’t find it use Camp, which is available at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
For the cake
- 200ml very strong coffee, preferably espresso
- 150g soft light-brown sugar
- 225g butter
- 225g golden syrup
- 2 tsp coffee essence
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 240g plain flour
- 100g malted brown flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 75g roughly chopped walnuts
For the icing
- 2 tbsp instant espresso
- 100g butter
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp toasted walnuts, chopped
- Butter and base-line a loaf tin measuring 23 x 13 x 7cm.
- Put the coffee in a pan and add the sugar, butter and syrup. Heat gently, without boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a jug and leave to cool. Whisk in the coffee essence and eggs.
- Sift the flours with a pinch of salt and the bicarbonate of soda, then add the bran back to the bowl with the flours. Toss in the walnuts. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the wet mixture, stirring the flour in gradually with a wooden spoon. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in an oven preheated to 170C/160C fan/gas mark 3½. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then run a fine knife between cake and tin. Turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the paper and turn the right way up. Leave to cool completely.
- Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to cool. Put the butter in a pan and melt it. Turn up the heat and cook until it has just turned brown and nutty, but is not burnt. Remove and leave to cool a bit. Put the butter into a mixer with the icing sugar and beat together. Gradually add the cooled coffee. You should end up with a smooth mixture. Scrape into a bowl, cover and put in the fridge to firm up a bit. Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the top of the cake. As it’s a tea cake fancy embellishments are not appropriate (I resisted topping it with chocolate-covered coffee beans) but a scattering of toasted chopped walnuts would be good.