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Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/ gas 5. Grease and line 3 x 20cm round sandwich tins. For the sponge use an electric whisk to beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and thick like semi-whipped cream. Gently fold in the flour, then the oil and finally the chopped nuts. Divide mix between the tins and bake for 15 mins or until cooked through. Turn cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
To make the cream filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla, then set aside. For the butter icing, beat the butter with half the sugar until smooth. Add remaining sugar, stir in the milk and coffee essence, then continue to beat until everything is combined.
To assemble, spread a third of the cream filling on top of one of the cakes, put another cake on top, spread another third of the cream over and lay the final cake on top. Put remaining cream in a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle.
Use a palette knife to spread the butter icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Lightly press the finely chopped walnuts into the sides and scatter the top with the roughly chopped walnuts. Pipe 8 swirls of cream on top, one for each slice, and top with a walnut half. The cake will now sit happily in a cool place for a couple of hours but is best enjoyed on the day it is made.
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