One of my favourite cakes has always been a coffee and walnut, perfect for elevenses or afternoon tea with a cuppa or even better, a strong cup of coffee.
When I went vegan I found that a lot of the homemade cakes in cafes and restaurants were quite dry, perhaps because of the lack of butter or dairy, and I didn’t find a vegan coffee and walnut that did my usual cake justice. Until now. Maybe it’s the addition of espresso or the generous icing or frosting that makes up for the drier texture of the cake, but this recipe is a winner!
A few tips before you start
- Use the best coffee you have to get the most flavour from the cake and use a fresh espresso, cooled, instead of instant
- Leave the cashews to soak overnight so they blend easily and the icing is lovely and smooth
- Use a plant milk like soy, so not to add any additional flavour combination to the cake
60 ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
45 ml / 3 tbsp plant milk (soy preferably)
195 g / 1½ cups cashews (soaked overnight)
2 tsp fresh coffee (cooled)
180 g / 1½ cups plain flour
100 g / 1 cup finely ground walnuts (chopped or whizzed in a food processor)
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ level tsp baking powder
150 g / ¾ cup caster sugar
chopped walnuts (to decorate)
195 ml / ¾ cup + 1 tbsp plant milk
60 ml / ¼ cup coffee (cooled)
60 ml / ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
For the icing
- Blend together maple syrup, vanilla extract and plant milk. Add one quarter of the drained cashews and blend again until smooth.
- Continue to blend the cashews until super smooth, quarter by quarter. Add splashes of plant milk and blend to get rid of any lumps.
- Add coffee and blend again. It should be a smooth, coats-the-back-of the-spoon consistency, not too runny.
- Refrigerate for a few hours, ideally overnight, and the mixture will thicken.
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 180° C / 355° F. Grease or line a 1 kg / 2 lb loaf tin with oil.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the remaining dry ingredients (ground walnuts, baking soda and baking powder) and fine caster sugar. Mix well.
- Add all the wet ingredients and fold them gently into the dry ingredients.
- Fill the loaf tin with the batter – it should be thick but still very pourable – and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool down completely before removing it from the tin, icing it, decorating with chopped walnuts and cutting into slices.