Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake

Another tray bake recently made in the classes, I won’t bore anyone with the details of tray bake origins as I did so in the lemon drizzle recipe posted a couple of weeks ago, except to say that tray bakes are the go to easy shareable cake in that you bake it, frost it and serve it straight from the tin which in this case is a disposable foil one so no danger of scratching the base with your knife as you cut so you won’t ruin your best tin (or the owner’s tin)

The cake mixture is unusual in that it’s a “split” method, you beat in the egg yolks and whisk the egg whites to a meringue and fold into the cake at the end. There is also a lack of flour in the recipe resulting in a light tight textured sponge with delicious chunks of toasted walnut in the cake. For the coffee I tend to favour coffee extract in the sponge and very strong espresso for the buttercream. I use Sumatra beans for the coffee as this is the coffee I drink at home and it’s the best coffee I have ever tasted.

This cake is ideal for sharing and cutting straight from the tin, don’t stress too much about the decoration rustic and haphazard definitely is the way to go here. The last good tip is that in the recipe both in the cake and on the finish the recipe calls for toasted walnuts. The best way to do this is toast the walnuts on a flat baking tray for 8-10 minutes at about 170°c then place into a thick tea towel or oven cloth. Give the toasted nut a vigorous massage in the cloth between your hands to rub off most of the skins. Then sift out as much of the skins as is practical with a large sieve then cool. I pulse the nuts briefly in a food processor to make into smallish chunks. The cake freezes very well too

The Recipe
1 x foil tray 300mm x 220mm x 33mm deep


100g Unsalted Butter
100g Icing Sugar
6 Medium Egg Yolks
40g Plain Flour
5g Baking Powder
150g Chopped Toasted Walnuts
6 Medium Egg Whites
60g Caster Sugar
1tsp coffee extract

Coffee Syrup
100g water
100g Caster Sugar
Coffee to taste
Rum or Coffee (optional)

150g Unsalted Butter
150g Icing Sugar
Strong espresso or instant coffee & water & coffee extract to taste

The Method
1. Spray a foil tray with grease place onto a baking sheet, place aside.
2. Place the butter and icing sugar into a small bowl.
3. Cream together until light with an electric hand whisk, scrape down.
4. Gradually add the egg yolk and whisk in, add the coffee extract.
5. Sift the baking powder and flour into the bowl, add the walnuts.
6. Fold in until clear.
7. Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until it reaches soft peaks.
8. Mix in one third of the meringue into the cake batter.
9. Fold in the remainder of the meringue into the batter until clear.
10. Spread the cake batter evenly over the tray.
11. Bake at 170°c for 25-30 minutes until the sponge is springy.
12. Remove from the oven, cover with silicone paper & a cloth until cold.
13. For the buttercream, cream the icing sugar and butter together.
14. Scrape down and add strong espresso coffee or instant coffee paste
15. Soak the cake with the coffee syrup then the buttercream.
16. Decorate with toasted walnuts & chocolate.

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