It has reached the time of year in our household that, for 10 months prior to November, always sounds very romantic. Until it starts to get closer. And then the reality sets in. Not only that, every year, without fail, we are not prepared for the shock.
‘What on earth is she talking about?’ Whispered the voice at the back.
Well, for us, we are just about to hit celebration season. And this is how it goes:
Me, him, the little ray of sunshine, the day we met, youngest brother-in-law, wedding anniversary, mini him, another brother-in-law, Christmas.
I know. How lovely all to be born within a month of each other…
As a direct result of this birthday montage, there is also an onslaught of cake to be made to compliment said birthday celebrations, and this year, for me, it’s coffee and walnut cake.
My favourite bit of this cake, as a child, was the icing. I enjoyed the cake out of politeness, but honestly it was really just seen as the bit to endure, to get to the bit I loved. So much so, I used to sneak into the kitchen when I thought no-one was looking, dip my finger in the tin holding the cake, and swipe a good dollopful of icing, before quickly closing the lid.
On reflection, this technique was not the cleverest really, as when my mum next opened the tin, there would often be a large crevice where icing once was. Like every good thief, I would completely deny any knowledge of the incident, although it was obviously one of us.
Back to the cake.
So, I mix 225g of butter and 225g of castor sugar together, although sometimes I half and half the castor sugar with soft light brown. I then add 50g of walnuts and whizz them altogether in my trusty Kenwood. Add 3 eggs, one by one, 3 dessertspoonfuls of espresso coffee, 225g of self raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.
Divide between two prepared cake tins and bake, gas mark 4, for around 25 minutes depending on your oven. As mine is a little contrary I tend to open the oven way too early on, and spend the next 10 minutes hoping that, as I’ve turned up the heat a little, this will counterbalance the cake dip. It’s not the most successful technique, but you can’t blame me for trying.
That is a down side to being an eternal optimist.
Once cooked, let the cakes cool on a rack for around 10 minutes before turning out and peeling the greaseproof paper off. Once again, my over eagerness often catches me unawares and I take the cakes out of their tins way too early, so they stick to the cooling rack. But hey, I figure it will have icing on it to cover any glitches and life is way too short to get in a tizzy about such things.
The icing is a combination of 300g icing sugar, 175 butter and a dessertspoonful or 2 of espresso coffee.
Here’s a little tip for icing sugar. Sieve or give it a whizz round in the trusty Kenwood before adding the butter, otherwise it is an absolutely devil to get smooth.
Dollop half in between the cooled cake sponges, and half on top. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you could create a lovely pattern on top and sprinkle on some walnuts.
Either way, this is an absolutely delicious cake for any time of year, so cut yourself a good slab, make a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy.