Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake

I made this cake back in November and I am sorry to say that it totally slipped my mind!  That is not to say that it’s not good.  I’m particularly proud of the Kalhua buttercream.  But life got in the way, as in inevitably does!  I’m going to try to have a bit of a catch up around these parts and get the drafts I’ve got littering the place behind the scenes sorted out.

Three Layer Coffee and Walnut Cake with Kahlua Buttercream

I was attending a Clandestine Cake Club event and the theme was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  I knew how I wanted to decorate my cake, with the teaparty itself, but what to bake for the cake inside? Then it hit me!  What’s madder than a coffee cake at a tea party?  Well, probably something, but it seemed like a cute idea!

Mad Hatter's Tea Party - Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake with Kalhua Buttercream Icing

I love a coffee and walnut cake.  It is one of my absolute favourites but I hadn’t actually baked one myself.  I decided to go with a classic sponge cake and simply add walnuts and espresso into the mix.  It worked a treat!

I do have a confession though, when I first turned the cakes out of their tins I thought I’d had a complete cake failure and they were a disaster.  I thought they hadn’t risen enough so I started to whip up a new cake to salvage this disaster.  I stacked the layers up in order to clear the decks, which was when  realised.  The cake was perfectly tall enough, I had just forgotten that with 3 layers the individul layers would be much thinner!

Mad Hatter's Tea Party - Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake with Kalhua Buttercream Icing

Serves 12

150g butter
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp strong espresso
150g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp kalhua
500g ready to roll icing, 250g white, 250g coloured with paste colours as you like (You won’t use all of the icing up but I always find a use for icing)

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C an grease three sandwich tins. I use silicone ones because they make turning out the cake so much easier.
– Put the butter and sugar in a food processor  and blitz until it is smooth and fluffy.
– Add the eggs one at a time down the funnel with the motor running.
– Add in the vanilla and espresso and continue to mix well.
– Add the flour, baking powder and walnuts and process until the flour and baking powder are totally worked in.  There should still be come chunky walnut bits.
– Divide the mixture evenly between your three cake tins.
– Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Be careful to check them as they’re so thin.  If using more than one shelf in the oven it’s usually a good idea to switch them around half way through cooking so they bake more evenly.
– Remove from the oven and turn out to cook on wire racks.
– To make your buttercream mix the softened unsalted butter with the icing sugar and kalhua until smooth and creamy with no lumps left.
– To assemble your cake spread 1/3 of the buttercream on each of the layers as you stack it on your serving plate.
– Roll out the white icing into a circle and then drape this over the cake like a tablecloth.
– Use the remaining coloured icing to fashion teapots, teacups and plates.  I also used some other cake decorations to make ‘food’ for my teaparty.  One innovation I was particularly proud of was using popping candy for the tea in the teacups.  I knew that the moisture in the icing would dissolve the popping candy and leave a sticky tea coloured liquid behind.   Go nuts, use your imagination!

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