Mini coffee and walnut cakes

Small, but perfectly formed, this modern take on a retro classic is perfect for elevenses.

Equipment and preparation: for this recipe, you will need a 16-cup mini cake tin or 16 x 5cm/2in chefs’ rings placed on a baking tray, plus a piping bag fitted with a 2D star nozzle.


For the cakes

  • 150g/5½oz butter softened
  • 150g/5½oz light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 150g/5½oz self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence
  • 75g/2½oz chopped walnuts

For the filling and decoration

  • 150g/5½oz butter softened
  • 450g/1lb icing sugar sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence
  • 200g/7oz walnut halves, finely chopped
  • 16 chocolate-covered coffee beans


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C(fan)/375F/Gas 5. Grease a 16-cup mini cake tin and line with baking parchment, or, alternatively, grease 16 chefs’ rings (5cm/2in diameter) and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  2. For the cakes, place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, and coffee essence into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended and smooth. Fold in the walnuts.
  3. Divide or pipe the mixture equally between the mini cake tins. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until well-risen and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  4. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, turn the cakes out of the tins and remove the parchment. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. For the filling and decoration, beat together the butter, icing sugar, milk, and coffee essence in a bowl until smooth.
  6. When the cakes are completely cold, trim the tops if domed. Slice in half horizontally, then sandwich them together with about a quarter of the buttercream.
  7. Spread a thin coating of buttercream around the sides of each cake and then roll the sides in chopped walnuts.
  8. Spoon the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small star (2D) nozzle and pipe a rose on the top of each cake. Place a chocolate-covered coffee bean over the joins.
  9. Arrange the cupcakes on the nicest cake stand you have and serve.
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