Those Iconic cakes that need to be veganised – don’t you love them? This vegan coffee & walnut cake was the subject of much begging from my son. I finally got around to pulling together a more healthy mainly wholemeal & lower sugar version than most versions on the web. I have to say I’m simply staggered by the amount of sugar vegan influencers allow in their recipes. The first recipe I looked up had 80% sugar compared to the flour – & the flour was all white. I substituted a mostly wholewheat flour for the white so it was 73% wholewheat. The sugar I reduced so it was down to 53% – it will be sweet enough – especially with the frosting. I bumped up the baking powder a bit. I might use whipped aqua faba next time……
Considering it is mainly whole-wheat flour – it won’t be as light as the white varieties – but what price health! I think it’s ok to have a few cakes now and then, but when they’re full of sugar and white flour something needs to be done. This cake will be more than sweet enough for most people – apart from dedicated sugar monsters.
I also used real coffee plus a little instant coffee granules. This means reducing the amount of plant milk in the recipe due to the extra liquid in the coffee. Since it’s difficult to calculate – make it roughly according to my measures – then weigh the resulting coffee liquor. After that just reduce the plant milk by the corresponding amount – then it will all be in balance. You can of course just use instant coffee, and use the full amount of plant milk but it won’t taste as rich and authentic. Soy is preferable as that way you build up the protein levels.
Not much you can do to reduce the sugar in the frosting, but I’ll have a go at that too…. With sponge style cakes, they’re often difficult to get to rise evenly. This is just to do with the way the mixture heats up from the outside. The only way to reduce this is with bake-even strips. These are wetted and then wrapped around the outside of the tin just before you pour in the mixture and bake. These help the mixture to cook more evenly. You’ll still get a bit of doming, but it will be much less pronounced. Eat this Vegan coffee & walnut cake with a nice cup of Darjeeling or Earl Grey’s Mixture, and your done!
vegan coffee & walnut cake
- 1 set of digital scales
- 1 1 litre jug
- 1 electric whisk
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 2 8 inch/20cm loose bottom cake tins
- 2 8 inch/20cm paper circules
- 1 piping bag & nozzles optional, but if you want to make it a bit fancy & it helps the nuts look better.
The dry bowl ingredients
- 200 g light brown caster suger could reduce the sugar to 175
- 1 teasp cinnamon
- 2½ teasps baking powder
- ½ teasp salt
- 100 g white self-raising flour
- 275 g wholewheat self-raising flour
- 75 g finely chopped walnuts
The wet jug ingredients
- 6 tbsps ground coffee
- 175 g boiling water
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 1½ tbsps cider vinegar
- 2 teasps vanilla essence
- 150 g cold pressed rapeseed oil
- 360 g oat milk or soya milk but less the volume of coffee
The coffee frosting
- 50 - 60 g kahlua or other coffee liqueur
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 1 teasp vanilla essence
- 500 g golden icing sugar
- 115 g firm non-spreading vegan margarine Flora Plant Butter is good.
- 25 g finely chopped walnuts
Making the 2 cake layers
- grease and line the bases of 2 by 8 inch/20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper & set aside.
- weigh all the flour and other dry ingreidients into a large bowl
- mix well with a food mixer
- weigh all the wet ingredients into a 1 litre jug and mix with the same mixer
- Apply your "bake even" strips if you have them now. They need to be fully wet, but not actually dripping.
- Set th oven to 180°C Fan so that it's ready when the cakes are in the tins - they want to go straight into the oven as soon as they're in the tins.
- Make a well in the centre, and pour all the wet ingredients in quickly.
- whisk until fully mixed - make sure to scrape the sides down with a silicon spatula to ensure there are no dry bits lurking on the bottom
- Divide the mixture evenlty between the 2 tins. The easiest way is to weigh it in each one in turn using a zeroable/tareable digital scale. The mixture will come to roughly 1185g so 590g in each tin - that leaves a bit for the children to lick from the bowl!
- Shake flat using a circular motion.
- Place on the middle shelf of the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes
- Check with a toothpick or cake tester - it should come out with no mixture sticking to it.
- Cool thoroughly either on a cake grid or in the tins, but it's best to cover them with something that will allow the steam to escape but that won't let them dry out too much.
Making the frosting
- Measure the kahlua, into a medium size bowl
- add the granules to the bowl
- add the vanilla essence to the bowl
- weigh in the icing sugar
- weigh the vegan stick butter and cut into small cubes and add to the bowl
- use the beaters of the mixer to break up the butter before you start the whisk by pushing it into the butter cubes repeatedly. This will help it start mixing it muc more quickly.
- The start the mixing on low at first, and speed up once you've got a good bit of the mixing done.
- keep mixing until it is perfectly smooth and homogenous - put in a cool place so it doesn't go too soft.
Assembling the cake
- Chose the cake layer with the flatest top and place on a flat circular base
- then start spreading a roughly ¼ inch or ½cm thick layer of icing on top of it.
- finish off the layer of icing trying to keep it nice and even - roughly ¼ inch thick
- carefully place the other cake layer on top - being careful not to break it
- spread a layer on top, and then cover the sides with icing - making sure to leave enough icing for the extra decoration around the top. It's importan to do it in this order or when you do the sides you mess up the stars. Alternatively you could make sure the stars are set in a little so that you don't mess them up, but that is still more difficult.
- finally, take the other 25g of walnuts and cut them into fairly small pieces
- and scatter them over the top, inside the icing stars..