Saturday, 14 July 2012

Favourite Bakes - Nigel Slater

After asking people what their favourite bakes were I’ve had more than one request for coffee and walnut cake. I couldn’t understand the fuss. Every time I’ve ordered this cake in a tea room or cafe it has tasted of absolutely nothing. Coffee and walnut aren’t exactly the most tasteless of foods so how could the combination in a cake be so boring? Needless to say I wasn’t feeling too inspired. But when looking at different recipes for this I found that this is also the favourite cake of one of my foodie heros Nigel Slater. He is quite simply, the best food writer. So, I decided not to mess with his recipe (well, not too much). When Nigel says instant coffee is best for this cake I am not going to argue. He does however, stress the importance of good quality ingredients which I have found makes a huge difference in baking. Always use the best flour and the freshest eggs. So here is Nigel Slater’s coffee and walnut cake, a cake he has stated he would choose for his ‘last supper’.

6oz butter (left out of the fridge till soft)
6oz unrefined golden caster sugar
65g walnut pieces
3 large eggs
6oz self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp coffee granules

For the filling:
150g butter
300g icing sugar
2 tsp coffee granules
50g walnut pieces
 You will also need two loose bottom case tins, lined.

Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4
Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Use an electric mixer  if you have one.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, break them up and add a little at a time into the butter and sugar, beating well.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and then add into sugar gently, Nigel says to use the electric mixer on a slow speed.
Dissolve the coffee granules with a tablespoon of boiling water and stir into the cake mixture along with the chopped walnuts
Pour into the two tins and bake for 20-25 mins. Take out and cool on a rack.
To make the butter cream beat butter till soft and pale, then add sugar a little at a time till smooth and creamy. Again, stir in a tablespoon of hot water to dissolve the coffee and stir into the butter cream with the walnut pieces.
You can either put half in between the cakes and half on top or whack it all in between. Nigel’s recipe has more butter cream and he slathers it all over the cake as well, but that’s too much for me. So I put the cream in the middle (in fact there was still some left over, I couldn’t handle all that butter!) and dusted the top with icing sugar. Other than that I stuck to Nigel’s recipe throughout. He is the cookery God after all.

I am now a coffee and walnut convert.  If you haven’t made this before, do it, it’s seriously good.

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