I'm not a huge fan of drinking coffee. I'll drink it occasionally if we have some made up or if we're in a coffee shop, but generally I'd make a green tea if I'm having a hot drink. To be honest it's probably because of my laziness as I find green tea the easiest and quickest to make. But I do love a good coffee cake, especially the coffee flavoured buttercream icing.

I had a craving for that coffee icing and so after I rummaged through the cupboards I decided to get baking. A quick google search landed me with Nigella's Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake recipe that I used as a base. I made some amendments to Nigella's recipe based on the ingredients I had (eg replaced butter with coconut oil) and also chose to make cupcakes, simply because I find them easier to make and to eat (plus they are faster to bake ;)).

Coffee Walnut Cupcakes

The sponge was delicious and the icing was just what I was looking for - great flavours with a good amount of coffee. I froze half of them and took some out of the freezer to defrost a few weeks later and they were just as good, the nuts still crunchy and the sponge still moist.

Coffee Walnut Cupcakes
Coffee Walnut Cupcakes
Coffee Walnut Cupcakes

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes (makes 18):


  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g coconut oil
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4tsp instant espresso powder (I used Illy Classic Roast Ground Coffee)
  • 2.5tsp baking powder
  • 0.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-2tbsp milk

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 230g icing sugar
  • 115g soft unsalted butter
  • 1.5tsp instant espresso powder (dissolved in 2/3tbsp boiling water)
  • walnut pieces to decorate


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C and line a cupcake tray with 18 cupcake cases. I had to bake these in two batches as I only have one tray.
  2. In a food processor blitz together the walnut pieces and sugar to a powder.
  3. Add the butter, flour, espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and eggs and process to a smooth batter.
  4. Add the milk and combine to loosen the cake mixture. It should be a soft dropping consistency, so add more milk if needed. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)
  5. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for around 18 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy.
  6. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack, and once cool you can make the buttercream.
  7. In a food processor (or by hand using a wooden spoon), mix the icing sugar with the butter to make a smooth icing.
  8. Dissolve the instant expresso powder in the boiling water and add it to the processor and blend.
  9. Spread the icing on top of the cupcakes and top with the walnut pieces.

Coffee Walnut Cupcakes

Hope you're having a great weekend!

S. xo