Recipe: The Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake

Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake

Mmmmm…. cake alert!  I find it hard to resist the temptation to make a slightly-oversized triple layer cake from time to time, and I’m gradually working my way through vegan-ising all the Great British favourites.  My Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge is one of the most popular recipes on the blog, and if you’re looking for a failsafe rich fruit cake, my Ultimate Vegan Christmas Cake recipe is not far behind, (I’ve just had an e-mail from a reader who is using it as her wedding cake, isn’t that lovely?!).

And today I bring you… the Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake.  This one is a keeper, I promise.  The coffee buttercream is incredibly creamy and light, and the dark, nutty sponge has just the right level of coffee to be a strong flavour without turning bitter.

Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake

I made mine a triple-layer because I like BIG cakes with lots of buttercream(!), but if you only have two tins you could either bake two cakes first then the third afterwards, or else make just 2 larger cakes and either use them as they are, or slice them in half to make 4 thinner layers, (oh the decadence!).

This is just the sort of showstopper to casually bring in to the office to share with anyone who has passed comment on your veganism recently, (“so do you just eat a lot of salad then?” – you know the ones!).

4.6 from 5 votes
Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake
Ultimate Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8 people
Author: Kate Ford | The Veg Space
For the Cake:
  • 6 tbsp instant coffee (mixed with 3 tbsp boiling water)
  • 600 g self-raising flour
  • 360 g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 600 ml soya milk
  • 240 ml rapeseed oil (or other flavourless oil)
  • 200 g walnuts (use two thirds chopped in the cake batter, and the remaining one third finely chopped for decoration)
For the Buttercream:
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee (mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp boiling water)
  • 250 g dairy-free margarine (at room temperature)
  • 640 g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp dairy-free single cream (soya or oat)
For the Cake:
  1. Mix the instant coffee and boiling water to a paste and leave to cool.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line three 23cm / 9 inch cake tins with a circle of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, (slightly smaller or larger tins will be fine!). (If you only have two tins, you could either make two larger layers, or bake two cakes first then clean and re-line one of the tins to bake the third).

  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, caster sugar and baking powder).  In a jug, mix the wet ingredients (milk, oil and cooled coffee mixture), then add these to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined, then bang the bowl on the work surface to stop the raising agents getting to work too soon.

  4. Stir in the chopped walnuts, then divide the mixture evenly between the three tins.  Tap each tin firmly on the work surface, then bake for 18-22 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean.  

  5. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, remove the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.  Ideally, it is best to leave the fully cooled cakes in an airtight tin or container overnight, to layer with buttercream the following day, (this helps the cakes to soften and stops a crust forming), but if you don't have time, just make sure they are completely cool throughout before starting to layer and decorate them.

For the Buttercream:
  1. Mix the instant coffee and boiling water to a paste and leave to cool.

  2. In a food mixer or large bowl with electric whisk/mixer, mix the margarine and icing sugar until fully combined, then add the coffee mixture, salt and cream, and whisk until light and fluffy.

  3. Roughly divide the buttercream into four in the bowl, and spread a quarter over the bottom layer of the cake.  Place the middle layer on top, then spread another quarter over it.  Finally, put the top layer in place and spread all the remaining buttercream over the top.  Finish with the remaining chopped walnuts.

This decadent triple-layer #vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake is easy to make, and a real showstopper. Light and nutty sponge layers filled with fluffy coffee buttercream. #plantbased #cake

Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later, or to share with friends → → → → →


Vegan in 15 Cover | Kate FordThere are plenty of quick and easy vegan recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15‘*. Hop over to Amazon for a look.  Thanks for your support!

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  1. Oh wow this looks amazing! I love coffee and walnut cake and this one looks and sounds out of this world! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x
    Kirsty Hijacked By Twins recently posted…Weekly Meal Plan – #MealPlanningMonday 2018 Week 4My Profile

  2. Two things I love.. coffee and walnuts .. and you put them in one scrumptious cake 🙂 awesome
    Veggy Malta recently posted…15 products that may seem vegetarian but in fact are non-vegetarian!My Profile

  3. Hi Kate,

    Thank you for sharing best recipes. I love coffee, any food made with coffee is my favorite choice. While reading this article, water came to my tongue. I’ll definitely make this cake. Thanks again.

    1. That’s great, thanks Kathryn x

  4. Would this work with oat milk do you think/have you tried? Thanks

    1. I haven’t tried Bryony, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work – please let me know how it turns out if you give it a go! Thanks, Kate x

  5. Delicious cake!!! Only problem I’ve had is that the icing split 🙁 Anyone else had this issue?

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I made it and it came out beautifully, though I think I will maybe halve the buttercream ingredients next time as I was left with a lot left over, though only did 2 layers instead of 3 so might need it all next time! Long story short, there WILL be a next time, because this was fricken delicious. I made it for mother’s day and my whole family (none of them vegan), couldn’t get enough of it. Sophie

  7. Ooh one thing actually – my buttercream split slightly and I couldn’t get it to come together again no matter how much I whisked. What would you recommend? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Sophie, sorry to hear about the buttercream – that’s usually a problem of a bit too much liquid, so try adding some more icing sugar next time until it comes back together. All margarines are different and some contain much more water than others, so that can be quite common. Hope it tasted good anyway! Kate x

  8. Made this and it was great. Added extra baking powder because I only had plain flour, and reduced the sugar by a little to suit my tastes (90g). Also didn’t bother dissolving the coffee, and used powdered coffee (Azera) instead. Thanks for the recipe!

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