Coffee and Walnut Cake with Rum and Walnut Cream

, from Issue #37. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Coffee and Walnut Cake with Rum and Walnut Cream

I prefer dark rum in this recipe but brandy can be substituted. The optional step of brushing the cakes with extra rum improves the flavour and texture, but the cake is just as delicious without it.

Serves: 10–12


150 grams walnuts
3 tablespoons instant espresso coffee
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons dark rum
225 grams butter at room temperature
225 grams caster sugar
4 eggs
225 grams self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

Rum and walnut cream
 1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
100 grams butter at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
2 egg yolks

Coffee glaze
5 teaspoons boiling water
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

To assemble
extra rum for brushing the cakes, optional

2 x 23 cm x 4-5 cm deep cake tins, greased and bases lined with baking paper


Cakes: Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Roast the walnuts then grind them finely in a food processor. Divide the ground walnuts in half, reserving one half for the rum and walnut cream. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water then stir in the rum and set aside to cool. Beat the butter and caster sugar together until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, adding a teaspoonful of flour with each egg. Combine the remaining flour, baking powder and walnuts and, using a large metal spoon, fold into the egg mixture with the cooled coffee. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed lightly and is pulling away from the sides of the tin. Cool for 20 minutes then remove from the tins.

Rum cream: Bring the milk and rum to the boil then stir in the reserved ground walnuts. Cool.

Beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the egg yolks. Add the cooled walnut mixture and beat again for two minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth. Tip into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours until firm. The cream will be quite soft when first made but will firm up when chilled.

Glaze: Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water then beat in the icing sugar to make a smooth, pourable glaze.

To assemble: Slice each cake in half horizontally. Place one half, cut side up on a serving plate and brush with a tablespoon of rum and spread with a third of the walnut cream. Repeat this with another two layers of cake, rum and walnut cream. Place the final layer of cake, cut side down, on top, but don’t brush with rum. Pour the coffee glaze into the centre of the cake and gently spread it over the top, letting some of it run down the sides of the cake. 

Cook’s Tip: To split a cake in half evenly, first mark the centre line with a sharp knife all the way around. Then, using a long serrated knife carefully work around and into the cake, turning it to ensure an even cut.