My quest for the perfect gluten free sponge-based recipe continues, and this recipe for a gluten free coffee and walnut cake ain't too bad.
It uses gluten free flour, which can leave a slightly squeaky and dry texture when scoffing, but add a little rapeseed oil to pack some moisture back in to the cake. Whilst traditionally you'd decorate with walnut halves, try adding some spring flowers or hundred of thousands mini eggs for a pop of colour!
Before I crack on with making this beautiful beast of a coffee and walnut cake, I'm going to talk about rapeseed oil, purely for the fact that there's still so many people that don't use it.
During the 90's and perhaps even the early 2000's when chip fryers were the rage, you were posh if you had anything other than vegetable or sunflower oil in your kitchen cupboards.
Olive oil became popular thanks to adverts from brands such as Bertolli, which focused heavily on the 'health benefits' of olive oil (one of their key ingredients) and it being a staple ingredient in any healthy Mediterranean diet. At this time, there was very little competition in the oil market and it was years before even coconut oil made an appearance on the mainstream supermarket shelf, meaning households would sway towards olive oil when shopping.
Whilst olive oil has remained one of the most popular oils in British supermarkets and is great for any salad dressing, over the past 4 years consumers have become more savvy to the different types of oils available, and thanks to farmers and advertisers actually shouting about the process behind the manufacturing of rapeseed oil and it's health benefits, sales are on the up and in March 2015 had grown by 24% from the previous year.
It was actually my partner who introduced me to rapeseed oil, as it turns out it's a staple in so many chef's kitchens. I too had the preconception that rapeseed oil is one of the more unhealthy oils and was made with heat pressing and chemicals, meaning any goodness gets stripped out during processing. However, as long as your buying a rapeseed oil which is virgin or extra-virgin, it turns out I was very wrong.
A huge step away from the mass produced cheaper oils, cold pressed rapeseed oils have a slightly nutty and buttery taste, making them the perfect base for any dressing and a great tool for cooking. Rapeseed oil has the lowest saturated fat content of any cooking oil, half that of olive oil and is super rich in omega-3, 6 fatty acids and vitamin E. Rapeseed oil also has a higher smoke point than olive and cooking oil, as well as not carrying that nasty smell when cooking, which makes it a great choice for frying and baking.
Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake
200g salted butter
200g Demerara sugar
3 large eggs
200g gluten free self-raising flour
100ml rapeseed oil
2 tsp ground coffee or granules
75g walnut halves, crushed
For the butter cream:
150g butter or margarine
300g icing sugar
1-2 tsp coffee granules
To decorate - walnut halves, mini eggs, hundreds of thousands or silk or food-safe flowers.
This recipe will make a two layered cake, however I personally prefer a bit more height and a lot more buttercream, so double the recipe to make my four layered gluten free coffee and walnut cake.
Pre heat your oven to 180ºc and grease and line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with grease proof paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour and soft in texture. I turn to my trusty Kitchen Aid whenever I'm making cakes, but if you haven't got a stand alone mixer, some arm power and a wooden spoon will do the job.
If you're using a mixer, gradually add the eggs and sifted flour a table spoon at a time with the mixer on a low speed. This helps to keep the sponge light, fluffy and free from any lumps.
Dissolve the coffee with a little bit of water and combine with the rapeseed oil. Gently fold into the mixture, before adding the crushed walnuts and placing into your cake tin.
Cook for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove the cake from it's tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once it's cooled down slice in half and cover until you're ready to decorate.
To make the butter cream, beat the butter in a mixer until light and soft. My method for creating as little mess and saving as much time as possible when adding the icing sugar, is to turn off the mixer and carefully place in the icing sugar. Cover the top with a damp tea towel and turn the mixer on to a medium speed, beating until the butter and sugar has fully combined. Leave the towel off and your kitchen will be covered!
Dissolve the coffee with 1 tbsp boiling water and add to the buttercream to taste. To decorate, spread generous heaps of the delicious butter cream between each layer of cake, and dollop the rest on the top and smooth around the outside.
To decorate, place walnut halves, mini eggs or spring flowers before enjoying a slice with a cuppa and your favourite book!