Coffee & Walnut Cake {inspired by the Brenda and Effie series by Paul Magrs}

It's the best when you read a great book and are inspired by what you find in the pages of that book. For me it's usually food related, but that's not always it. But it is for this post. 

Paul Magrs wrote a book called Never the Bride about an older woman who lives in a little English sea side town where weird things happen to her and her best friend. She's not all that she seems and I suspect neither is her friend. He then followed it up with Something Borrowed, it was in this book after Brenda and Effie (the two heroines I just mentioned) saved the day yet again and were celebrating in there favorite cafe, The Walrus and the Carpenter, with coffee and cake. Not just any cake an English classic more specifically this cake.

Coffee Walnut Cake: 

225g caster sugar
225g soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
4 large eggs
50g walnut pieces, chopped
200g plain flour
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 - 2 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan and line and grease two 20cm / 8inch cake tins.
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one until just mixed. Mix the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and walnuts into the batter and mix until just combined. Add the milk a little at a time until the batter is drop like constancy.

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge feels springy to the touch. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment; once they are completely cool you can make the buttercream.

350g icing sugar
175g soft unsalted butter
2½ tsp instant espresso powder (dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water)
approx. 10 walnut halves (to decorate)

Place the butter into a mixing bowl and beat for a minute or two before shifting in the icing sugar and espresso mixture. Beat until smooth and lighter in color. 

to finish: Place one layer on your stand/plate and spread about half of the frosting on the first layer and then place the other layer on top and frost it before decorating the edges with the walnut halves. 

page from Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs

Up next in the Brenda and Effie series is Conjugal Rites and I can't wait to see what they get up to next!! 

Note: The recipe is loosely adapted from a Nigella recipe from her book Kitchen, also found on her website here

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