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A beautifully simple gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake intense in coffee flavour with a lovely earthiness from the walnuts. Beautifully baked with teff flour and walnut flour and filled with a silky coffee buttercream.
At the beginning of summer I start thinking of crowd pleasing bakes to donate to the various cake stalls coming our way. I usually make a few cake promises to the school fairs, village fetes and neighbourhood festivals. These cake stalls make their money by selling good homely British baking and I’m always happy to contribute.
Not counting my own market stall I was a Women’s Institute member (and President) for many years and know my way around a local cake stall. At these local festivals there is always an enthusiastic crowd circling the cake stall and there are a certain few cakes that the customers expect to see. You betcha there had better be a Coffee and Walnut Cake amongst the offerings. Riots are not usually on the agenda at the Crouch End Festival.
This version of a Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake is one that I always offer up. It's a total crowd pleaser both with those looking for gluten-free cakes and others who love a traditional cake and won't even notice it's gluten-free.
Why you'll love this recipe
- All the elements of your traditional Coffee and Walnut Cake are present.
- This version has been modernised through using flavourful gluten-free flours which gives so much more personality to this British stalwart.
- Walnuts are pulsed to create a flour giving the sponge and lovely soft texture and walnut flavour throughout.
- Use of instant barista style coffee which means you can add the powder straight into the cake mixture.
- Very flavourful buttercream which also uses the barista style coffee powder.
- Easy to make and decorate.
Gluten-free flours required
The key to a delicious gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake is:
- Teff flour
Teff flour is an incredibly tasty flour with hints of molasses and spices. An absolute natural pairing to the coffee and nuts in this cake, adding a beautiful complexity of flavour. READ MORE >>> The Ultimate Guide to Teff Flour
SUBSTITUTION: You can substitute the teff flour for buckwheat flour which also works beautifully in this cake and gives it more of an earthy taste. Just swap the teff for equal amounts of buckwheat if you like that idea.
We blend the teff flour with:
- Tapioca Flour – for helping the cake hold together so it’s not dry and crumbly.
- Walnut Flour – for the unmistakable taste of walnuts. We grind walnut halves into a ‘flour’ to give the cake a moist crumb. The flour allows the walnut flavour to permeate the whole cake. READ MORE >>> The Ultimate Guide to Nut Flours
Full list of ingredients needed
- Soft light brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Eggs - this recipe uses medium eggs at 60g each
- Teff flour
- Tapioca flour
- Baking powder
- Coffee powder
- Icing sugar
How to make Gluten-Free Coffee Walnut Cake
This Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake is a straightforward cake to make and uses the creaming method for a beautifully light sponge. For the full recipe see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg one at a time.
- Grind the walnuts in a food processor.
- Mix the walnuts with the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
- Divide between two 8 inch cake tins.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes then cool.
- For the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until light and creamy.
- Add the coffee and salt to the icing then ice the cake.
Tips for best results
- When grinding your walnuts make sure you don’t take them too far. If they start to turn into walnut butter then the walnuts will have released too much oil and will make the cake greasy. The walnuts should be like crumble.
- When making your icing you want to beat the butter and icing sugar for about 6-8 minutes so the icing is ultra light and creamy.
What kind of coffee to use
For this cake we use barista style instant coffee powder as it’s so easy. You can add it straight in without mixing with water. I like the Nescafe Azera brand and use this whenever I need a fresh coffee flavour.
There is no difference in the cake sponge at all, just a lovely clean coffee taste. It’s beautiful in the icing too, flecking like tiny polka dots against the white icing.
How to store
This Gluten-Free Coffee Cake will keep in an airtight tin for up to three days.
How to freeze
You can freeze this cake either before or after it has been decorated with buttercream. However, it makes for easier storage if you just freeze the sponges before you have made the buttercream. Allow the sponges to cool completely then double wrap in plastic wrap and aluminium foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Allow to defrost overnight at room temperature before unwrapping and decorating.
More classic gluten-free cakes you'll love
If you make this Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake
- 200 g soft light brown sugar
- 200 g unsalted butter - room temperature
- 4 eggs - medium - 60g each with shell
- 125 g teff flour
- 100 g walnuts - plus extra to decorate
- 50 g tapioca flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
- 300 g unsalted butter - room temperature
- 300 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan and line and grease 2 x 20cm round cake tins.
- Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
- Place the walnuts in the food processor and grind them until they form fine crumbles.
- Pour the ground walnuts into a large bowl then whisk to mix with the teff flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, salt and coffee powder.
- Add the flour mix to the batter and mix until completely combined.
- Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave the cake layers to cool completely before icing.
- Beat the butter together with the icing sugar and mix until incredibly light and fluffy.
- Mix in the espresso powder and salt.
- To assemble, divide the icing between the middle and the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves.
- WALNUTS: If your walnuts start to turn to butter in the corners of the food processor then you have taken them too far.
- The instant coffee powder I use is Nescafe Azera.
- This cake will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- You can freeze this cake for up to 2 months.
- Please note when you see ‘grams’ listed as opposed to ‘millilitres,’ or any other term of measurement, that is not incorrect. I weigh all of my ingredients, including liquids, for accuracy.
- US customary measurements for the ingredients provided are based on a conversion calculator. This recipe was tested with metric measurements and I recommend using a digital scale to weigh ingredients for the most accurate results. READ MORE >>> Why you should always weigh vs measuring with cups