Coffee Cardamom Walnut Cakes

Baker Claire Ptak gives the classic Coffee and Walnut Cake a makeover with these warming spice-packed, individual Coffee Cardamom Walnut Cakes. They take just 20 minutes to bake and are topped with a deliciously moreish coffee icing. You won't be able to just have one!

From the book

The Violet Bakery Cookbook by
The Violet Bakery Cookbook
Beautiful recipes from Claire Ptak, baker of Megan and Harry's wedding cake
Delicious sweet and savoury bakes
Inspiration for everyday baking and special occasions


I love the English coffee walnut cake that appears on the menu of every museum cafe and National Trust house I visit. I've always loved the flavour of coffee in cakes and desserts. When I was little, my favorite ice-cream flavour was coffee and I could never say no to a coffee eclair. Adding cardamom to the sponge gives this walnut cake another depth. The three flavours marry very well.

Makes 12 Individual Cakes
Cook time: 20 min


75g walnuts
210g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground pink peppercorns
180g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
210g crème fraîche
butter, for greasing the tins
For the Icing:
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp freshly brewed strong coffee or espresso


Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 150ºC (fan)/ gas 3. Brush a 12-hole cupcake tin with butter.

First, warm the walnuts through on a baking tray in the oven. Do not toast them, you just want to bring out the fragrant oils. This should take less than 5 minutes. Let the nuts cool slightly then chop fine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarboante of soda, salt and spices, then whisk this mixture through the chopped nuts. Set aside.

In an electric mixer, whisk the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is fully incorporated, then add the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and nut mixture and then the crème fraîche.

Divide the batter between the 12 tins and bake for 20 minutes until the cakes spring back to the touch. Let the cakes cool in their tins for about 10 minutes, then gently pop them out (you may need to run a small paring knife around the inside of the tins to ease the cakes out). Place the cooled cakes upside down on a wire rack.

Whisk together the ingredients for the icing and spoon it over the cakes. Use the back of a spoon to gently guide it to the edges so that it willingly drips down the sides. 

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