The ultimate makeover: Coffee walnut cake

The ultimate makeover: Coffee walnut cake

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins

More effort

Cuts into 12 slices
A delicious but lighter version of teatime favourite, coffee and walnut cake

Nutrition and extra info

  • Unfilled cake can be frozen


  • kcal336
  • fat15g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs45g
  • sugars30g
  • fibre1g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.43g
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  • 1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 50g ground almonds


    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

  • 85g light muscovado sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 25g chopped walnuts



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

  • 2 eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 250g natural yogurt
  • 75ml walnut oil

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp coffee granules
  • 140g light mascarpone
  • 100g Quark



    This is a soft, smooth curd cheese with a refreshingly light acidity. It ranges from low-fat…

  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 140g fondant icing sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and bottom-line a 20cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin. For the cake, mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (use fingers to rub out any lumps from the muscovado) and walnuts, then make a dip in the centre. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon so everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top to level it, then bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin briefly, then turn it out and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely while you make the filling and icing.

  2. Make the syrup for the filling: put the caster sugar and coffee into a small, heavy-based saucepan, then pour in 3 tbsp water. Heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, raise the heat, then boil at a fast rolling boil for about 2½-3 mins until thickened and syrupy. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool. When cold it should be the consistency of treacle.

  3. Meanwhile, finish off the filling and make the icing. Beat the mascarpone, quark, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then stir in the cold coffee syrup. Set aside. For the icing, sift the fondant icing sugar into a bowl. Mix the coffee with 1 tbsp warm water, stir this into the fondant icing sugar with about 1 more tsp water to give a smooth, thick but spreadable icing. Split the cake into 3, then sandwich back together with the filling. Spread the icing over the top, scatter over the chopped walnuts and leave to set. Store in the fridge.

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Comments (22)

ldupuy's picture

A bit disappointing compared to a traditional version: the texture of the sponge was slightly rubbery, the filling tasted too much like cheese, really, and the walnut oil was overpowering. The Hubby (who doesn't like the taste of coffee) enjoyed it though.
I'll try again but with a filling with mascarpone only (no cream cheese) & a bit more icing sugar (never mind...)

PSC's picture

Baked it today. It came out great! Soft and moist. Very proud of myself.
Thanks for this wonderful low calorie recipe. I didn't follow the icing recipe. Cake was just great.

meowvon's picture

Found that the cake was rather chewy and rubbery when I baked it!

yolaine's picture

The cake itself was delicious but the filling was not to my taste - sorry. I will make the cake again but with a butter filling next time.

tartybaker123's picture

Very easy to make. I wanted to cut down even more on the calories & fat so I made a traybake, cut it in half when cooked & put half in the freezer. I did however put the full amount of coffee icing on the one half as it just didn't seem enough to cover both & it is my favourite icing of all. The end result is awsome, very light very tasty & very moorish. It just leaves you wanting more.

laurenjonessa's picture

Delicious!! Made this into cupcakes and baked for 30min. They came out perfectly

kathryn35's picture

I made this for a family meal and everyone loved it. I added an extra egg whites, and instead of adding the whole eggs in with the yoghurt etc I just added the yolks. I whisked up the 3 whites and folded them in at the end to add lots of air and the sponge was very fluffy. I did have a problem with a slightly soggier middle so I think I would bake it for 5/10 more minutes with the added egg white.
I think next time though I would just use low fat cream cheese as I thought the quark had a bit of a funny after taste.

dandares's picture

This is my first attempt at making this. It came out really well! I never use self raising flour though, I always make my own by adding 1tsp baking powder to every 110g plain flour. Slicing the sponge into three sounded like too much like hard work and too messy for me, so I just poured the sponge mix into 2 8inch tins, cooked for 35mins and sandwiched them together with the filling. Instead of making the fondant icing sugar topping I just topped it with the leftover mascarpone filling I saved from not using it on 2 centre sponges.

thegirlnextdoor's picture

I am sorry but you can never 'Healthise' the walnut and coffee cake. But great try!

hopeth's picture

It's my Dad's 50th birthday soon and he LOVES coffee and walnut cake but he's trying to lose weight, this will be perfect for his birthday cake!! woohoo!

linmack's picture

I made this today and it was really easy to do. The cake was lovely and soft with a light texture. It turned out perfect even though i changed the yogurt to healthy eating creme freche as i did'nt have yogurt. Next time i'll do the yogurt version. I found the cake to be not too sweet which we prefer. I think i'll make 2 cakes next time and freeze one unfilled. Will definately be adding this one to my favourites list.

bunties's picture

I haven't made this recipe yet, but to answer Serendippity and Ola's questions...
Quark is a low fat, curd type cheese, sold in a tub, I can buy it in my local Sainsburys, it's usually on a high self though.
Light Mascarpone is also available in my local sainsburys, it is usually with a selection of other low fat cheeses away from the regular mascarpone.

serendippity's picture

Where on earth do you get Quark? I've never seen it on sale anywhere and not 100% sure what it is... some kind of cream cheese?

nintendods's picture

me and my family made this and after we eat it all and we felt we wanted more! i made cupcakes a mini version they are eiser than this.

the person who could not make this rise did you have the oven on the right temp?????

10000/10000 my rating of this cake and cupcakes!!

zolka12's picture

I would like to try it but not sure where to get light mascarpone?

aheffron's picture

I had two attempts at this today and couldn't get it to rise. My ingredients had been out of the fridge for over an hour, my baking powder was fresh, I seived the flour, pre-heated the fan oven 160C, baked it for 45mins. Where did I go wrong? My only deviation from the instructions was that I used a spring form tin. Any advice would be appreciated.

beksa63's picture

Lovely moist cake and so straightforward to do! It was very much liked and will certainly make it again! Best of all it has less calories than the regular version so I could indulge without worrying to much about the buldge!-)

walsingham's picture

I put cake into a big roasting tin. And Just put fondant icing sugar
on the top . lovely thanks

kasiakoczwara's picture

LOVELY!!!! And sooooooooooo easy!!!! Good advice from Tordi - keep an eye on syrup, it's really easy to burn! :)))


Questions (2)

ldupuy's picture

I had my very first coffee cake a few minutes ago & am now looking for a nice recipe. This one looks perfect, but Quark does not exist in France, where I live.
Could you please tell me what I can use to replace it?
Thanks a lot.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Idupuy, thanks for getting in touch. We haven't tested this recipe using a substitute for the quark but we would suggest you try having a go at this with cream cheese or fromage frais, even mascarpone if that's available. Let us know how you get on. 

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