It’s no secret autumn is my favourite season. Nature is turning all beautiful shades of red, brown and golden and I just love it. These autumn months mark several birthdays in our family. And though this year, for obvious reasons, our birthday celebrations may be mainly online occasions, they must be accompanied by very real cake! So I’ve taken this opportunity to bring in the warmer colours and flavours of the season with this glorious, three-layered vegan coffee and walnut cake.
With their dark flavour, coffee and walnuts are made for each other and it’s no wonder the coffee and walnut cake is a classic. The version you see here is my vegan spin on it and I couldn’t be happier with the result! This festive treat is made with three layers of delicious coffee-flavoured sponge cake. The warm flavour is intensified by the addition of buckwheat flour, while almond flour and finely ground walnuts give the cake a lovely moist crumb. An added bonus is the fact that these airy sponge layers are the result of an extremely easy process: throw all ingredients in a bowl, give them a quick stir and then bake and enjoy the wonderful fragrance coming from your kitchen.
The cake layers are then spread with an airy, sweet and coffee flavoured frosting made with raw cashew nuts. Every time I use cashews to make a sauce, cheese base or frosting, I am amazed by how smooth and creamy they become. And blended with coffee and maple syrup they make a frosting that tastes so good and looks so luscious you’ll want to lick the bowl and come back for seconds on the cake. I spread a generous dose of the frosting on each of the cake layers and scraped the rest of it in a thin layer over the side for a semi-naked cake effect. Instead, you could leave the side of the cake bare and use the remaining frosting to make decorative swirls on top.
I went all out making a three-layered frosted cake and as we were actually just the four of us, it kept our bellies happy for at least four days. It’s a cake for abundant celebration with a crowd, or for prolonged festivities if you’re gathered in a smaller group. As smaller groups are the norm at the moment, you could decide to downsize the cake. Simply use 2/3 of all ingredients and make a two-layered cake, or even use just a third and turn it into a frosted loaf cake or sheet cake to enjoy at coffee time.
If you’re in the mood for vegan cake, you may also like these:
- apple pie with lemon, pecan nuts and sweet autumn spices,
- almond and lemon cake with Earl Grey tea frosting,
- strawberry cake with lime and elderflower frosting
- sweetpea and basil mini cakes with vanilla and lemon frosting
You can find these and more in the baking section on the recipe page.
Vegan coffee and walnut cake with coffee cashew cream – serves 16
for the cake layers
- 150 g buckwheat flour
- 450 g self-raising flour (I used wheat flour; swap for a gluten free blend to make this cake gluten free)
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 3 tbsp. instant coffee powder*)
- 600 g raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 150 g almond flour
- 150 g walnuts, finely ground
- 75g walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract
- 750 ml almond milk
- 150 g rapeseed oil
for the coffee cashew cream
- 500 g raw cashew nuts, soaked in cold water for at least 2 hours
- 175 ml maple syrup
- 4 tsp. instant coffee powder, dissolved in 6 tsp. hot water
- 6 tbsp. almond milk
- 3 round ∅20 cm/8″ cake tins, bottoms lined with baking parchment, sides greased
- chopped walnuts, shaved chocolate curls or fresh flowers, to decorate
*) If you’re using instant coffee granules, you can easily grind them to a powder using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder; this will ensure the coffee flavour being evenly distributed over the cakes. Opt for decaf if you’re sensitive to caffeine or want to share your cake with children.
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the buckwheat flour with the self-raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, coffee powder, sugar, almond flour and ground walnuts. Stir in the chopped walnuts, if using.
Add the vanilla-extract, almond milk and rapeseed oil. Stir until there are no pockets of flour left.
Divide the batter over the three prepared baking tins. To obtain layers that are equal in height, I use scales, filling each tin with appr. 800 grams of batter. Bake the cakes for about 40 minutes, until golden and risen, and a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins.
Now make the coffee cashew cream. Drain the cashew nuts and tip them into a blender along with the maple syrup, dissolved coffee and almond milk. Blend them to a smooth, airy paste. You’ll get the creamiest result if you use a high-speed blender, but a hand-held stick blender or a food processor and a bit of patience will get you a long way as well. Between blending turns, scrape the sides of the blender bowl to work in every last piece of nut.
Trim the tops of the sponge cakes to level. Spread each cake with a generous amount of the coffee cashew cream, then stack the layers. Spread the remaining cashew cream over the side of the cake and scrape to smooth, for a semi-naked look.
Decorate to your own taste, using chopped walnuts and/or fresh flowers.