When was the last time you savoured a lovely slice of coffee cake? 1972? Yes, that’s very likely the same decade that I last had mine too. With its pseudo-European overtones and bordering-on-illicit focal ingredient, one could not help feeling just a little bit grown up being offered a slice.
With movement in time, so came improvement in coffee cake. Today’s are far superior to those gran-used-to-make, and I say this not because I’m gerontophobic, but because we now have access to authentic rich coffee – the essential ingredient that alluded our grandmothers. When I think of the talcum-style coffee products these early cooks had to rely on, it is a wonder that the coffee cake recipe was not forced to extinction. Instead of large screw top jars of dust-like powder, we now have the benefit of slick espresso machines to deliver a damn good shot on demand. (Just one more thing to be grateful for)
And with one shot in the batter and the other in the icing, this coffee and walnut cake is a wonderful way to cherish culinary evolution.
185g softened butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp good coffee
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and some extras to dot on the icing
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a large round cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs individually, beating well after each addition.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together and fold them through the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.
Add the coffee and gently mix through until well combined.
Fold through the chopped walnuts.
Spoon mixture into cake tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
After cake has cooled, ice with 1 1/2 cups of sifted icing sugar, with 1 to 2 tablespoons of good coffee mixed in until it is a firm spreading consistency.
Scatter walnut halves across the top.
Postscript: Now I’m sure our European friends are smirking quietly here, as never were they without the magic stuff.