A few years ago a good friend of mine had his whole world change when his daughter Lily was born. Little Lily was born with a condition called Microphthalmia, which essentially means she was born with eyes that didn’t develop properly (they are about 20% the size they should be). So rare is this condition that the midwife who delivered her, and most of the doctors at the hospital had never seen a case of Microphthalmia in their 50 plus years of experience.
My mate Gary though is the most optimistic, happy, caring and generally upbeat person I know and immediately put the rest of his life on hold to make sure that little Lily has the best life she possibly can. He even has sold his house (which had no mortgage) so that he could be close to a school that could offer Lily the best start in life. In addition to this, Gary has found a charity called MACS which specialises in this rare condition, and has taken on the role of Treasurer.
Earlier in the year my wife also started working for the charity as an Events Coordinator. Her role though is to help spend the money on these amazing children. Being an amazingly kind woman herself, Domesticated Mum thought she would do something to put some money back into the charity’s bank account, and this weekend she organised a coffee morning at our local church.
And what does a coffee morning need more than anything else?
Cake of course!!!
And this is where your humble blogger enters this tale, because I was drafted in to bake some cakes to help raise funds. So I put on my thinking cap, and being a man of very little brain instantly thought… Coffee Cake!
So I scoured the recipe book library that lies in the back of my kitchen and found a recipe for a gorgeous little Coffee and Walnut tray bake that would be perfect for such a wonderful occasion… And since I am in a caring mood, I have taken a bit of time and shared the recipe for this fabulously coffee-licious cake below.
Coffee & Walnut Traybake
The secret to this cake is to use butter and good quality instant coffee (no Mellow Birds allowed). You can also use a variety of nuts, or no nuts at all, but I think the nuts add texture and helps to cut down the coffee flavour.
Skill level: easy
Preparation time: around 15 minutes
Baking time: around 20 minutes
Equipment needed: 1 square baking tin, 25.5cm x 20.5cm
For the sponge cake
- 125 g butter, softened
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150 g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp good quality instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water
- 75 g walnuts, chopped into different size pieces
For the topping
- 200 g icing sugar
- 85 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp good quality instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water
- 3 tbsp whipping cream, or double cream
- 25 g walnut pieces
- Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/GM4 and grease and line the base of the baking tin.
- Put the butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugar and beat well until the mixture turns lighter in colour and has a light texture.
- Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the flour into the bowl and add the coffee mixture. Then carefully fold the ingredients together with a large metal spoon. When thoroughly combined add the walnut pieces.
- Transfer the mixture into the tin and spread evenly. Bake for around 20 minutes until the top is golden and springs back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from the oven and run a butter knife around the edges to loosen from the tin. Set on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before turning out. Allow the cake to cool completely.
- While your cake is cooling make the topping. Begin by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the melted butter, coffee mixture and cream and mix well with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth icing.
- Leave the topping in the refrigerator to firm up, and then swirl it onto the cooled sponge.
- Decorate the cake with some more walnut pieces.