gluten free coffee and walnut cake

Gluten free coffee and walnut cake

I love coffee and walnut cake and have been trying to find a good gluten free recipe for a while. Instead of recreating my own entirely, I took Nigella Lawson’s coffee and walnut layer recipe and adapted it to be gluten free with a combination of rice flour, sorghum flour and starches. If you wanted to make this dairy free, this can easily be done by replacing the butter with a dairy free alternative such as Pure, and the milk with almond or soya milk.

You will need:

For the gluten free sponge:

  • 50 grams walnut pieces
  • 225 grams caster sugar
  • 225 grams soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
  • 70g rice flour
  • 40g sorghum flour
  • 65g tapioca starch
  • 25g potato starch
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2½ teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons milk

For the buttercream:

  • 350 grams icing sugar
  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 2½ teaspoons instant espresso powder (dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water)
  • approx. 10 walnut halves (to decorate)

Technique:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350°F.
  2. Butter two 20cm / 8inch sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
  3. Put the walnut pieces and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder.
  4. Add the 225g butter, flours and starches, 4 teaspoons espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and eggs and process to a smooth batter.
  5. Add the milk, pouring it down the funnel with the motor still running, or just pulsing, to loosen the cake mixture: it should be a soft, dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a rubbly powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)
  6. Divide the mixture between the 2 lined tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch.
  7. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.
  8. When the sponges are cool, you can make the buttercream.
  9. Pulse the icing sugar in the food processor until it is lump free, then add the butter and process to make a smooth icing.
  10. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the processor, pulsing to blend into the buttercream.
  11. If you are doing this by hand, sieve the icing sugar and beat it into the butter with a wooden spoon.
  12. Then beat in the hot coffee liquid.
  13. Place 1 sponge upside down on your cake stand or serving plate.
  14. Spread with about half the icing; then place on it the second sponge, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover the top with the remaining icing in a ramshackle swirly pattern.
  15. This cake is all about old-fashioned, rustic charm, so don’t worry unduly: however the frosting goes on is fine. similarly, don’t fret about some buttercream oozing out around the middle: that’s what makes it look so inviting.
  16. Gently press the walnut halves into the top of the icing all around the edge of the circle about 1cm apart.

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