Tuesday 10 July 2012

Coffee and walnut cupcakes

The atmosphere in our house has been somewhat subdued lately. It started with Italy's humiliating defeat in Euro 2012 and the constantly leaden skies and autumnal climate are certainly not helping to lift our spirits. GL, who finds it hard to believe that it is actually summertime, is suffering from a lack of warmth and sunshine. Phone calls to Italy don't really help matters as everyone there complains about how unbearably hot it is and how they simply have to go to the lake or seaside in order to cool off a little in the water. When we mention the rain and the temperatures we've been getting here, they say they envy us and how they would do anything to have some cooler conditions. They don't fool us though, we know they don't really mean it...

 I made these toothsome little cupcakes in a bid to cheer GL up, coffee and walnuts being two of his favourite flavours. I initially thought of doing a classic iced coffee layer cake but that has become one of my mum's staples so I came up with these, a slightly more subtle and dare I say it, elegant take on the aforementioned classic (a perfect example of which can be found here http://bakinginfranglais.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/camp-coffee_08.html on the great Baking in Franglais blog and which is, incidentally, almost identical to the one my mum makes).

Anyway, I digress. The coffee flavour in the cupcakes comes from fiendishly strong espresso (a perfect excuse to include a photo of my beloved Gaggia, without which GL and I, coffee addicts that we are, would probably not be able to live in the UK) and a sprinkling of real fresh ground coffee, an idea that I picked up from Dan Lepard in the Guardian a few years ago. The two elements combine to give a distinctive, mellow coffee flavour without it being too overpowering. 
As GL prefers these without icing, I left half the batch as they are and I iced the other half with a coffee water icing. You could also top them with a traditional coffee buttercream.


As this month's letter is 'W' in the brilliant Alphabakes challenge by Ros from TheMoreThanOccasionalBaker and Caroline (this month's host) at Caroline Makes, I'm sending this as my entry. I'm also entering it into the Tea Time Treats Challenge, with the theme of Cake Stall Cakes, run by Karen of Lavender and Lovage (this month's host) and What Kate Baked.

RECIPE - makes 12 cupcakes

120g softened butter
120g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
half a teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
one very strong espresso, about half a standard espresso cup
half a teaspoon fresh ground coffee (dry)
50 g chopped walnuts

12-bun muffin tin lined with 12 cupcake or muffin papers

 Pre-heat the oven to 190°C

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Mix in the espresso and the ground coffee
. Sieve the flour and baking powder and fold in. Lastly, fold in the chopped walnuts.

Spoon the mixture in to the cases, filling each case as equally as possible.

Put in the oven and bake for about 15-20 mins or until the cakes are cooked and golden brown on top.

Remove from the oven. Take the cakes out of the tin as soon as you can and leave to cool on a wire rack.
When completely cold, ice with water icing or buttercream (see note above) or just serve dusted with icing sugar.


  1. A BEAUTIFUL entry into Tea Time Treats and such GORGEOUS photos too! I also love the way your little cup cakes look almost Italian! Thanks so much for baking these for our Cake Stall! LOVELY post! Karen

    1. Thanks Karen, I always find that cupcakes sell really well on cake stalls!

  2. Ooh these look wonderful. I'll have to give my dad a treat and bake these as he loves coffee and walnut cakes so great the two are combined here.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment - I feel that dads get overlooked sometimes, so a few treats are definitely in order! I put a few of these aside for my dad too..

  3. Hi, I am dropping by through Tea Time Treats. This looks like a lovely tea time cake. Coffee and walnut definitely makes a beautiful combination and I can imagine how wonderfully it goes together when I bite into one of these.

    1. Hi Mich, thanks for dropping by! Glad you like these, it's a combination that nearly everyone enjoys!

  4. These look delicious - and I see you did it properly with espresso, I love your machine - when I did a coffee and walnut cake recently I only had instant coffee!

    1. I'm sure your cake was fabulous, even with instant coffee. My mum uses Camp coffee in hers and it still tastes great!

  5. I love coffee and walnut cakes and these look so cute and delicious!! I recently bought a bottle of camp coffee essence but not had a chance to use it yet - maybe I should make some of these! Thank for entering them to AlphaBakes!