Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake

A beautifully simple gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake made with teff flour and walnut flour.

gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake on a wooden board

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.

gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake on a wooden board

When I would help co-ordinate the volunteers and bakers for an upcoming cake stall we would accept any offering. However we also had a checklist of bakes that absolutely had to be included:

Victoria Sponge
Brownies
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Chocolate Cake
Flapjacks
Carrot Cake

And you betcha there had better be a Coffee and Walnut Cake. Riots are not usually on the agenda at the Crouch End Festival.

At the same time as the resolutely traditional bakes there has in recent years been a call for gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free cakes. These are usually the ones I donate as you can imagine. I love blending traditional recipes with modern alternative flours to serve both needs.

This Coffee and Walnut Cake is based around a classic recipe. However it has been modernised through using flavourful flours which gives so much more personality to this British stalwart. And makes it gluten-free to boot.

gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake on a wooden board

How to make a Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake

The key to a delicious gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake is:

  • Teff flour

If you don’t know anything about teff flour then visit this post which dives deep into the subject. It 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.

process shots of making a gluten-free coffee and walnut cake

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.

ALTERNATIVE FLOUR: Buckwheat flour 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.

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process shots of making a gluten-free coffee and 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.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg one at a time.
  3. Grind the walnuts in a food processor.
  4. Mix the walnuts with the rest of the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  6. Divide between two 8 inch cake tins.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes then cool.
  8. For the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until light and creamy.
  9. Add the coffee and salt to the icing then ice the cake.

Bakers Tips:

  • 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.

Slices of gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake on a wooden board

What kind of coffee do you use in Coffee and Walnut Cake?

For this cake we use barista style instant coffee 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 long will Gluten-Free Coffee and Walnut Cake keep?

This Gluten-Free Coffee Cake will keep in an airtight tin for up to three days.

Cut slice of a gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake

If you are looking for easy gluten-free bakes to take to a cake or bake sale then hop on over to the following recipes:

The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road
Red Velvet Cake
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

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

A beautifully simple gluten-free Coffee and Walnut Cake made with teff flour and walnut flour.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 710

Ingredients

  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 200 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 eggs medium
  • 125 g teff flour
  • 100 g walnuts plus extra to decorate
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder

Icing

  • 300 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180/ 160 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.

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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 710kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 1345IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1.9mg

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Collage of images of a gluten-free coffee and walnut cake

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake is a spin on the Tres Leches Cake from Central America/Mexico which soaks a delicate sponge in condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. My version is gluten-free made with buckwheat flour and tastes just like a walnut latte in cake-form.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

I became 100% gluten-free eighteen months ago and pledged to convert all my recipes to gluten-free or remove them from the website. This is a huge work in progress, namely because I get distracted by new recipes and ingredient obsessions which take priority in my mind. Plus converting an original successful recipe to gluten-free takes a little bit of trial and error as I want the new and improved version to be just that – an improvement.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

This is where the Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake comes into play. I posted the wheat flour version of this recipe about three years ago, funnily enough, about this time in my last pregnancy. Due to feeling really rubbish in the final part of my third trimester back then I abruptly stopped posting new recipes here. Then Cole came along and I found it really hard to get back into the blog as I adjusted to motherhood so this Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake resided stubbornly at the top of my blog for about four months whilst I found a balance to posting again.

The problem was that the photos for the cake were absolutely terrible, along with a couple of other recipes posted around that time. I felt these were not a great representation of my site so I became ashamed of my blog and when my new friends wanted to see what I did before becoming a mummy I felt I had to apologise for my hard work. So this recipe, along with a couple of others, were removed from the site and languished on my to-do list to be re-posted at some point when I returned whole-heartedly to blogging. Then, as I said above, new recipes and obsessions took over, I became gluten-free so the original cake was no longer relevant and so this Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake lay dormant.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

Then last year I offered to bring along a cake to a weekend away with friends. I always offer since this is the ideal opportunity for me to recipe test and get a good range of feedback. Of course my friends are so nice they make all the requisite yummy noises despite how good or bad the cake is. Although I guess it’s cake and it’s homemade which can usually only be a good thing. Anyway, I decided it was time for my Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake to come out of retirement and I tweaked the recipe a little, making it gluten-free, and took it with me.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

It was a resounding hit and I was thrilled that I could be proud of this cake once more. This Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake had always been delicious but the gluten-free amendments took it to another level. I chose to use buckwheat flour due to its delicious wholegrain nutty flavour which pairs amazingly well with the earthy coffee and walnut notes. Buckwheat flour has a very assertive flavour but it stands up well to this intensely flavoured cake so absolutely shines here. I didn’t want to only use buckwheat flour as too much can be overwhelming so I paired it with white rice flour which doesn’t fight with the buckwheat and instead sits back happily whilst it’s friend reaps all the glory.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

The cake is a very simple coffee and walnut sponge which is made ultra special by giving it the tres leches treatment. The sponge is left to cool slightly after being removed from the oven and then soaked with a mixture of three milks, condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream which have been infused with cinnamon and cardamom. The cake is left overnight to really absorb all the flavour, take on a delightfully moist texture, and is then covered in a whipped coffee cream and sprinkled with caramelised walnuts.

It’s a complete treat of a cake and works well as a dessert due to its ‘soaked’ texture. I have made this cake a couple of ways and I like both, so which direction you take depends on how much you like the moistness of the cake. In my directions below I have instructed to soak the cake with the milks before cutting into squares. This means that although the cake takes on all the flavour of the milks, it isn’t as sodden in the middle, so if someone (I’m looking at my husband) isn’t a fan of the texture then he can have a piece taken from the middle of the cake. However, if you are like me and want the cake as moist as possible (since that’s the idea behind the cake anyway) then I suggest cutting the cake into squares before soaking and then slather on the whipped cream the next day onto the individual squares. Both ways are delicious but you have a choice should you require it.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

I am so happy to bring Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake back into play on the blog, I feel like it was definitely worth waiting for.

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake {gluten-free}

Coffee and Walnut Tres Leches Cake is a spin on the traditional South American Tres Leches Cake which soaks a delicate sponge in condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. My version is gluten-free made with buckwheat flour and tastes just like a walnut latte in cake-form.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 squares
Calories: 379

Ingredients

  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 100 g white rice flour
  • 75 g walnuts toasted then ground
  • 2 tablespoons coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tres Leches Soak

  • 200 g evaporated milk
  • 200 g condensed milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cardamom pod seeds removed and crushed
  • pinch of salt

Whipped Latte Cream:

  • ½ teaspoon coffee powder
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Caramelised Walnuts:

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 30 g chopped walnuts
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C then grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flours, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition then add the vanilla.
  • Fold in the flour mixture and mix in until just combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, turn out of the tin and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the soak by whisking the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream, cinnamon and cardamom seeds in a saucepan over medium heat until it is just warm. Remove from the heat.
  • Place the cake in a dish with high sides, poke several holes into the cake with a cocktail stick then spoon the glaze over.
  • Cover the dish with cling film then refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the cake from the fridge to take the chill off whilst you prepare the toppings.
  • Begin with the caramelised walnuts by the placing the walnuts on a baking tray in an oven pre-heated to 180°C for 5 minutes until toasted. Remove and set aside.
  • In a smallish saucepan pour the caster sugar evenly into one layer and heat over a medium heat. The sugar will slowly melt, beginning at the sides. Carefully shake the saucepan every so often so the sugar melts evenly, do not stir. As soon as all the sugar has melted drop in a pinch of salt.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with baking parchment before pouring the walnuts into the molten sugar and stir in with a silicone spatula. Working quickly make sure all the walnuts are coated in sugar then tip onto the baking parchment, spreading out into an even layer. Leave to cool then chop finely.
  • To make the whipped latte cream, whip the cream for a few minutes with the coffee powder and icing sugar until thick and cloudlike.
  • Finally, carefully remove the cake from its dish, spread the whipped cream over, cut into 16 squares then sprinkle over the caramelised walnuts.

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 0.8mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

I have been using this MasterClass Non-Stick Deep Square Cake Tin with Loose Base, 20 cm (8″) for all my square cakes, brownies and bars for many years. It has a loose base so it’s really easy to remove cakes from and lovely high sides so is suitable for all kinds of recipes. It’s the tin I used in this recipe and I couldn’t recommend it more.

The buckwheat flour I have been using lately is Amisa Organic Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour, 400 g. I love the texture and flavour of it. It hasn’t been completely refined so still retains little black flecks of the buckwheat grain which improves its nutty flavour. It is also very easy to get hold of.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake {gluten-free}

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

I am hooked into stories. I was an early reader and would consume book after book. Now, I’m not saying these books I read were all that literary, I grew up reading a lot of Jilly Cooper. But I studied English Literature at A-Level and then Film and Literature at university so my love for fictional worlds and their impact on society continued and evolved, my life became analysing books and films for credit and I was consumed by it. Although Jilly Cooper never made the syllabus for some reason.

Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake

I get totally invested in these stories, obsessed by the characters in them and although I am not reading that much at the moment, as the mere action of picking up a book seems to summon sleep in seconds, I still watch a bit of TV. I would have professed to have left my obsessive nature of it behind though since being a mother, running my own business and paying a mortgage has really made me grow up. Then on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this week I discovered that Greg, one of the main characters in the series, has left the show for good and I broke down and cried when the internet confirmed it. But I loved him, my nearly 36 year old self sobbed to my husband, why won’t he come back.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

The sadness I feel when I have to say goodbye to these characters is weird but real. In times gone by I have had to bid a fond adieu to Buffy Summers which took me years to get over, Felicity Porter and Ben Covington and not to mention the loss of Veronica Mars. In 2007 though I was struck by devastation again when I was forced by the powers that be to say goodbye to Stars Hollow, a place I had come to think of as a second home. I had heard about Gilmore Girls just after it finished airing in the US but it hadn’t been on TV in the UK so I imported the first box set over on a whim. Soon I had binged the whole seven series, getting up at 6am so I could sneak in an episode before work and staying up into the early hours to get them in. I was not enjoying my job and these girls and their life was a pleasant refuge.

I shared the DVDs with my Mum and we would mail them to each other back and forth, bickering over which of Rory’s boyfriends was the best (duh, Jess forever!!), how thoughtless Lorelei was being and why the hell was April suddenly on the scene. Then it was over, season seven finished a bit up in the air and we couldn’t believe there wasn’t any more. I scoured for any articles or a glimpse of information on another series, a movie but nothing. It was done.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

In my last days of pregnancy Mum sent me the DVDs back through the post and for the first few weeks of Cole’s life I re-watched the whole thing again, babe in arms, on the sofa. Too petrified to leave the house with my newborn and too tired to do anything other than nurse and watch TV. I was sure I could see his little eyes flutter every time he heard the Carol King theme tune (rolling his eyes- never!) and I would sing it to him to calm him down when he was fractious. I still do (despite his protests).

So incase you don’t know, Gilmore Girls is back tomorrow. Friday November 25th a special day, and to say I am excited is to underestimate my devotion, fandom and the fact that I probably don’t have a social life. It’s like PI day all over again (March 14th 2014 when Veronica Mars returned to me). So this week I have done what any sane baker would do in this instance, I baked a cake to commemorate the day and I’m going to eat it all tomorrow, fork in one hand, remote in the other. Of course if you know Gilmore Girls then I had no choice but to bake a coffee cake as those girls sure do like their coffee coffee coffee. It’s a Pecan Butterscotch Latte cake and I think one of the most delicious cakes I sell on my market stall so I am thrilled to find an excellent reason to share it with you.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

I came up with the recipe as customers kept asking me if I did a coffee and walnut cake and although I have baked many a coffee and walnut in the past I never thought it was that special to warrant a place on the stall. So I fixed it. This Pecan Butterscotch Latte cake is truly wonderful, packed full of pecans, which are finely ground and add a really rich flavour, further impounded by the toffee taste of the light muscovado sugar and the butterscotch notes of the oat flour. The coffee powder I use is Nescafé Azera which can be used directly into the batter and icing without needing to be dissolved. It’s a strong and deep coffee flavour, perfectly balanced by the sweet notes of the sponge. The icing is a traditional buttercream but made creamier by the mascarpone so you feel you are drinking a light frothy coffee. A latte if I may be so bold. It’s my perfect cake for a celebration and tomorrow you betcha I’ll be celebrating.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

Oh, and if you too are a fan of Gilmore Girls and are as excited about the reunion as me then I hope you also know about the Gilmore Guys podcast which is brilliant and funny and excellent company for me during my baking days. You must check them out as they really make me smile.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 839

Ingredients

Cake

  • 440 g light muscovado sugar
  • 350 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 160 g rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 160 g ground pecans
  • tablespoons coffee powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Icing

  • 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon coffee powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 12 pecan halves to decorate

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x 20cm round baking tins
  • Cream the sugar and butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, mixing in well.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, ground pecans, coffee powder, baking powder and salt. Add it to the rest of the batter and beat well until the batter is smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before icing.
  • For the icing beat the butter and sugar together for ten minutes until airy.
  • Add the mascarpone, coffee powder and salt and beat again until incorporated.
  • To assemble the cake spread the icing on one layer of the cake, enough so that the icing spills out a little over the sides. Place the second layer on top and spread some more icing evenly over the surface.
  • Smooth the icing which is peeking out of the middle over the sides of the cake very thinly to achieve the naked cake effect.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with the pecan halves.

Nutrition

Calories: 839kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 188mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 1515IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 1.2mg