Monday, 22 September 2014

Coffee, cardamon and walnut cake - gluten free

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.

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