Nigella’s coffee and walnut cake (GF)

I’ve made a fair few coffee cakes over the years, as it’s my dad’s favourite, but I’ve never actually tried a traditional coffee and walnut because of his aversion to nuts, so when my colleague requested it as one of her favourites I was quite excited to give it a go.

After quite a bit of research I settled on a Nigella recipe, mostly because I was intrigued by the method, which literally involves chucking everything into a food processor and blitzing – could a recipe with no creaming, beating, sifting or folding really produce a light and fluffy sponge?!

I clearly should have had more faith, as this cake turned out beautifully – soft, light, just the right balance of coffee and walnut, and, big bonus, it even held up to using gluten free flour.

This cake received the best reviews I’ve had for anything I’ve baked in ages, so I can’t recommend strongly enough that everyone else tries it too!

Nigella’s coffee and walnut cake (GF) (adapted from here)

  • 50g walnut halves, plus 8 extra to decorate
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 225g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp instant coffee
  • 2tbsp milk

For the icing

  • 125g butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp milk

Add the walnuts and both sugars to a food processor and blitz until the nuts are fairly well ground. Add the butter, blitz, then the eggs, and blitz again. Dissolve the coffee in 1 tsp water and add with the flour, xanthan gum and baking powder and blitz again. Finally pour in the milk while the food processor is running – you should end up with a smooth batter that drops off a spoon. Divide between two greased and lined 7″ sandwich tins and bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes. After removing from the oven leave for 10 minutes to cool then remove from the tins and put the sponges on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, pulse the sugar in a food processor then add the butter. Dissolve the coffee in 1 tsp water and add to food processor, and blend until the mixture comes together. Add the milk and blitz again – you might need a bit more if it seems too thick.

Level the bottom cake if necessary, then turn upside down on a serving plate. Spread half the icing on the bottom layer, sandwich with the second cake layer, then spread the remaining icing all on top. Decorate with the reserved walnut pieces and serve.

I’m entering this for the November Tea Time Treats Challenge, hosted by Karen atย Lavender and Lovageย and Kate atย What Kate Baked. To celebrate TTT’s first birthday the theme is cake – and I for one would be more than happy to have a slice of this served up at my birthday party!


23 thoughts on “Nigella’s coffee and walnut cake (GF)

  1. This cake looks delicious & moist! I ‘ve tried quite a number of Nigella recipe but yet to try this coffee & walnut cake! Looks really yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. I made this cake following the recipe and method without any substitutions/improvisation. Whilst the flavour of the cake is lovely, the sponge doesn’t appear to have risen and the texture is slightly hard.

    Any ideas as to why this might be the case? I definitely used the baking powder and xanthum gum as instructed.


  9. This is the most delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹ coffee and walnut cake I have ever tasted and everyone agrees no one can believe its gluten free!! and so easy to make I’m just about to make my 4th one

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