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HAIRY cakes, not Fairy cakes! - Coffee and Walnut Sponge

This deliciously moist, old fashioned coffee and walnut cake should ideally be made with Camp coffee essence, but if you can’t track it down in your local stores, use very strong black coffee instead.

Serves 12

 

65g walnut halves (ideally from a freshly opened pack)

225g softened butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing

225g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence

For the icing

150g softened butter, cubed

300g icing sugar, sifted

4 tsp Camp chicory and coffee essence

12 walnut halves

 

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 190C/fan oven 170C/gas mark 5. Butter two 20cm loose-based sandwich tins and line the bases with discs of baking parchment. Put the walnut halves in a food processor and blitz to a fairly fine crumb, but don’t worry if there are a few larger pieces of nut remaining. Tip into a bowl.

Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and coffee essence in the food processor and blend on the pulse setting until well combined and creamy. You may need to remove the lid once or twice and push the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Do not overblend or you will end up with a heavy sponge. (If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the nuts and tip all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl then beat like hell!)

Add the blitzed walnuts to the batter and mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture evenly into the two tins and smooth the surface. Bake on the same shelf in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until well risen and just beginning to shrink back from the sides of the tin.

Remove the tins from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cakes and turning out on to a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, put the butter in a food processor, or mixing bowl, add the icing sugar and coffee essence. Blend until the icing is smooth and creamy. Add a little more coffee essence to taste if you like.

Place one of the sponges on a plate or cake stand and spread with half the coffee icing. Top with the second sponge and spread with the remaining icing. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to create soft swirls and peaks. Decorate with the walnut halves. Leave to stand for at least an hour before serving if possible to allow the icing to become a little firmer. Serve the cake in wedges, making sure everyone gets a walnut on their piece!

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