Coffee and Walnut cake was my late grandmother's favourite: every year my mum and I would make one for her birthday. I can't quite separate it from her. She taught me a lot about cooking - not only many fun and exciting things - but also how much hard work can go into creating food. She (and her many helpers) organised a massive fruit and vegtable garden with literally acres of produce that had to be planted, tended, picked and then often blanched and frozen or made into jams and preserves. Not to say she didn't also show me how cooking could be a pleasure - but the reality of creating so much from scratch couldn't be rose-washed.
I spent at least a day a week at their house when I was little, helping out - but mainly eating. My favourite haunt had to be the fruit cage in summer - raspberries, loganberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrents, blackberries and so much more would fall off into my little hands.
And so this is Delia's stalwart recipe that came out at least once a year to much appreciation. It doesn't really need playing with in my opinion - it's always wonderful. For this version I made double the mixture to make a four layer cake in four tins, rather than splitting two - I love the crunchy edges in contrast to the smooth mousseline. Which is also why I didn't cut them off to make a 'prettier' cake.
*** Please use this updated recipe instead of this one to make this cake. I've left the one here because I think it's fun to see the difference in my recipe writing... ***
Coffee and Walnut Cake
(From Delia Smith's Book of Cakes)
For the cake:
110g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
110g butter at room temperature
110g caster sugar
50g walnuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp instant coffee
1 tbsp boiling water
Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and line two 7" sponge tins. Mix the coffee with the boiling water to form an essence. Cream the butter and sugar and then add eggs, beaten, slowly with the occasional spoon of flour. Fold in the coffee essence and walnuts. Transfer to tins and bake for thirty minutes.
For the mousseline:
60g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water.
Put the 4 tbsp of water and sugar in a small saucepan and slowly bring to the boil - make sure sugar has dissolved before it boils. Let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until it forms a thread. The temp should be between 103C and 105C. Whisk the egg yolks in a stand mixer, then pour the sugar syrup over the eggs in a steady stream as you keep whisking. Then whisk the butter in bit by bit until it is smooth and fluffy. Whisk in the dissolved coffee.
To assemble spread the mousseline between the cakes and over the top and decorate with walnut halves.