For the latest meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club I once again was inspired to bake from a Fiona Cairns recipe book, this bake is from her latest "Seasonal Baking" which is a stunning book and contains some wonderful looking cakes and bakes.
Feeling distinctly autumnal I plumped for a Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake which is a beautiful twist on the classic combination of coffee and walnut, as the recipe contains ground almonds and a relatively low amount of flour, it converted beautifully to gluten free using a standard gluten free flour.
Fiona's recipe is available on the Waitrose website here
What you need
- 175g softened butter
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 15 cardamon pods
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 1tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1tbsp of hot water
- 3 eggs free range - lightly beaten
- 50g ground almonds
- 125g self raising flour (gluten free works fine)
For the caramelised walnuts
- 50g walnut halves
- 100g caster sugar
For the buttercream
- 5 cardamon pods
- 150g softened butter
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tbsp of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water
- 1 tsp milk
You also need 2 sandwich tins - about 22cm diameter oil sprayed and base lined
What you do
- Preheat the oven to 160c
- Firstly we are going to roast the walnut pieces and halves for about 6 minutes until lightly toasted, don't let them burn. Allow to cool
- Now lets make the caramelised walnut halves, place the walnut halves on a baking tray lined with a silicone sheet or baking parchment.
- In a saucepan bring 100g of caster sugar and 100ml water to the boil, swirl the pan to ensure all the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a vigour rolling boil. The caramel will eventually turn a lovely golden brown and be reduced.
- Remove from the heat and drizzle over the walnut halves to create a sheet of nutty caramel, leave to one side to set. Be careful as the caramel with be very hot.
- Next we will make the cake
- De seed the cardamon pods, placing the seeds in a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine ground, sieve into a small bowl, take a 1/4 for the buttercream. The rest is for your cake mixture.
- In a mixer (I used my trusty kitchenaid) cream the butter,sugar and coffee until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs, almonds and cardamon, fold in the flour and the chopped walnuts
- Once fully mixed divide the mixture into the prepared sandwich tins.
- Bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, tested with a cocktail stick to check baked through.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Whilst the cake is cooling, mix up the buttercream using the remaining cardamon and the above listed ingredients, ensure you beat it for a least 6 or so minutes to ensure a light fluffy buttercream.
- To assemble the cake - spread the base layer with buttercream and then top with the other cake. Then spread the rest of the buttercream on the top and sides.
- Crush the walnut caramel and arrange decoratively on top.