Saturday 9 January 2016

Bake Day - Coffee and Walnut Cake

Another classic, this was an excuse to give praline a go.

The cake itself was fairly simple, it's a pound cake mix (4 eggs), with walnuts added, along with some coffee added, and baked for 30 minutes at 200'C. The icing is a simple buttercream (again with coffee added). The praline was reasonably simple...50g of caster sugar, and a couple of tablespoons of water in a small pan, and then heated gently until the sugar melted, and then wait for it to turn a caramel brown....Once that happened, take it off the heat, stir in 50g of walnut pieces, and turn out onto a non-stick surface (lesson there, greaseproof paper does not work! Apparently I should have used oiled baking parchment, or a silicone mat).

I don't often do big cakes, as they are trickier to move around. To build the cake up, I put one cake on a plate, then put half the buttercream on and spread it out. From the praline, I took out 8 interesting looking bits, and the rest was put in a plastic bag and battered with a rolling pin, and then that was sprinkled over the icing. The second cake was put on top, and then I piped on the rest of the buttercream, and used the interesting bits of praline to decorate, The end cake is very nice, with a great balance of walnut and coffee, and the praline gives a good bit of texture.

Coffee and Walnut Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160'C
  • Grease and line 2 20cm cake tins

Cake Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g butter/margarine (room temperature)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 75g walnut pieces
  • 1 tbsp of instant coffee, dissolved in 2tbsp of hot water

1) Put everything in a bowl and mix (I use a stand mixer, which makes this very easy) until the batter is smooth and consistent.

2) Spoon out half into each cake tin (Tip: If you know the weight of your mixing bowl, you can weigh everything, take off the weight of the bowl, and then work out what the weight of half your mixture is)

3) Bake for ~30 minutes in the oven.

4) Once baked, remove from the tins carefully and cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake is baking, make the praline

Praline Ingredients

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp water

1) Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan, and place over a gentle heat.

2) Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat up a little, and allow the mixture to come to the boil

3) Keep boiling, until the mixture begins to turn brown (once it starts, it gets darker very quickly).

4) Once the sugar is nut-brown, take it off the heat, and stir in the walnuts

5) Pour the mixture out onto a non-stick surface to cool completely

6) Pick out 8 pretty-looking chunks, place the rest in a plastic bag, and smash with a  rolling pin

Buttercream ingredients

  • 75g soft butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1tsp coffee, dissolved in 1½tbsp of hot water
  • Splash of milk

1) Place the butter, sugar and coffee liquid in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy. You may need to add a splash of milk to soften it. If you've using a stand mixer occasionally stop, and scrape down the sides.

Assembling the cake

1) Take one of the cakes, turn it upside down, and place on the serving plate

2) Take half the buttercream, and spread evenly over the top of this

3) Take the smashed praline, and sprinkle this over the top of the icing.

4) Place the second cake, and put on top of the first

5) Place the other half of the buttercream, put it in a piping bag with a fluted nozzle, and decorate the top of the cake

6) Place the 8 reserved bits of praline around the edge of the cake evenly.

7) Eat!