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This is the ultimate in classic cakes. More interesting than a Victoria sponge, more classy than a Swiss roll - the coffee content even gives you a plausible excuse to keep it away from the kids (more for you!). The coffee-flavoured sponge is studded with softly crunchy walnut pieces, which bring a hint of bitterness - balancing out the sweetness of the rich, creamy filling. Dust with icing sugar, and you’ve got a cake to make Mary Berry herself weak at the knees. It also won’t take you all afternoon - just 45 minutes of prep and 30 in to bake - and doesn’t require a long list of obscure-sounding ingredients either. Enjoy with a coffee, of course!

Preparation time:

45 minutes

Cooking time:

30 minutes


For the cake:

  • 250g softened butter (and extra for greasing)
  • 100ml espresso coffee
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g finely chopped walnuts (keep 2tbsp roughly chopped)

For the filling:

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted (and extra for dusting)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 100g mascarpone, at room temperature


  1. Heat oven to 180C (fan), 160C (gas)

  2. Butter two 20cm round cake tins and line with baking parchment

  3. Set aside 1tbsp of the coffee for the filling

  4. Beat the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and half the remaining coffee in a large bowl until free of lumps

  5. Fold in the finely chopped walnuts, then divide between the tins and roughly smooth out

  6. Scatter the roughly chopped walnuts over one of the cakes

  7. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes until golden and risen, so a skewer comes out clean

  8. While the cakes are hot, drizzle over the rest of the coffee

  9. Leave the cakes to cool while you make the filling

  10. Beat together the icing sugar, cream and mascarpone and fold in the reserved 2tbsp of coffee

  11. Spread filling on the plain cake, then top with the walnut-topped cake and dust with a little icing sugar


Does caffeine cook out of cake?

Because of the crystalline structure of coffee, the answer looks to be “no”. So taking the 100ml of espresso in the cake mix, you’ll be left with roughly 125mg of caffeine in the whole thing. Say you cut it into 12 slices, that’s 10mg each. That’s pretty negligible so probably fine to share with your kids - though feel free to use it as an excuse not to!

Do coffee cakes have coffee?

In a literal sense, of course! But actually, many understand a ‘coffee cake’ to just be any kind that you’d enjoy with a piping hot brew. They don’t have to have coffee in them at all! We think it’s better when they do though…

How do you put coffee in a cake?

In this recipe, you simply add liquid coffee as part of the wet ingredients. Whether you’re using fresh coffee or instant granules, we’d always recommend using at least a little water to dissolve them - no-one wants a gritty sponge!

Can you use coffee granules in cake?

You certainly can - in fact, most recipes suggest using coffee granules. Of course, at Pact, freshness is everything… so we recommend using any leftover ground coffee you’ve got from us (if you even have any! Leftover coffee isn’t a concept we recognise…).

Do coffee cakes taste like coffee?

If you want to make sure your sponge packs a punch, some suggest adding a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom to bring out those coffee flavours. Let us know if it works!

What flavour goes with coffee cake?

To jazz up your flavour pairings - in the icing or otherwise - chocolate is always a solid bet, for a mocha-like result. A drizzle of caramel could be a great addition too. Just think of anything that you might find in a frappe!