Friday, 24 January 2014

Coffee and Walnut Gâteau (Wheat Free)

It was my brother's birthday last week, and as such it was time for a much requested favourite of his: Coffee and Walnut Gateau!

This is one of those old stalwarts of the home cooking repertoire: the coffee and walnut gateau! Technically this is not a gateau, as gateaux are cakes that use fresh cream, chocolate and fruits for filling and decoration, but this has always been known as a coffee and walnut gateau. The corner shop next to my estate, which sadly closed down after nearly 40 years of business last week, made an absolutely delicious rendition of this classic.

There's a lot of making in this cake, but trust me: it's totally worth the whole few hours/overnight wait!

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat

☒ Gluten
☒ Dairy (use ingredients in italics for a dairy-free version)
☒ Eggs
☒ Refined sugar products


For two 8 or 9  inch (20 or 23 centimeter) round sandwich cakes
  • 7 ounces (200 grammes) spelt flour
  • 3 ounces (85 grammes) cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) ground coffee
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 2½ ounces (70 grammes) soft brown sugar
  • 5 ounces (140 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2½ ounces (70 grammes) sunflower oil
  • 2½ ounces (70 grammes) butter or block margarine
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons (75 to 105 millilitres) warm coffee
For filling, crumb coat and icing:
  • 6 ounces (170 grammes) butter or block margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 1 pound (450 grammes) icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk or water, or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
For chocolate and walnut decoration:
  • 3 ounces (85 grammes) white chocolate
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) milk or dark chocolate
  • 1 fluid ounce (30 millilitres) sunflower oil
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) finely chopped walnuts
  • 20 whole walnut halves

First, prepare the cakes:
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F, Gas Mk.4, or moderate).
  • Prepare the cake mixture as per the basic sponge recipe, and pour into two greased and floured 9 inch (23 centimeter) cake tins. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until ready. Allow to cool completely in tins.
  • Once cold, cut each cake in half horizontally, and cut the domes off both cakes. Decide how you will assemble the layers, making sure the bottom layer of one cake, bottom side up, is on the top of the pile.

Then, fill and crumb coat the cake:
  • Cut a circle of card that's the same size as the bottom of the cake.
  • Make the coffee buttercream icing following this recipe 
  • Smear a little buttercream on the card circle and stick the bottom layer of cake to it.
  • Spread the bottom and middle two layers with half of the filling. Assemble the layers and chill for about half an hour.
  • Once chilled, use some of the remaining half of the icing to spread the top and sides with a thin layer of icing to lock in the crumbs. Chill for at least an hour. Use the last of the icing to ice the sides of the cake and make a little dam around the edge of the cake's top; leave a little for attaching the walnuts later.
  • Press the chopped nuts into the sides of the cake.

Next, prepare the chocolate glaze:
  • In a microwave suitable bowl, heat the white chocolate and 4½ teaspoons (22 millilitres) of the oil in 30 seconds bursts until melted and smooth
  • Heat the milk chocolate and remaining 1½ teaspoons (8 millilitres) sunflower oil the same way until smooth.
  • Pour the white chocolate glaze atop the cake and spread it out to the dam, making sure it doesn't spill over the edges of the cake.
  • Make lines of milk chocolate glaze on top of the white chocolate and marble with a cocktail stick as in the picture.
  • Leave to set in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Assemble the masterpiece:
  • Once the chocolate marble glaze has set, spread a little buttercream on the underside of each walnut half and arrange them in a ring around the top of the cake.

I'm quite proud of this cake and how it turned out! Especially the marbling: I used a double feathering technique that makes it look swirly...

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