The College Housewife » Recipes » spring » Coffee Walnut Cake

Coffee Walnut Cake

Three layer Coffee Walnut Cake on a white cake stand.

A slice of coffee walnut cake on a white plate with a silver fork.

Hello friends!

Easter is on Sunday! Wait a minute, I said that wrong… EASTER IS ON SUNDAY (insert frantic face). 

WHAT. THE. HELL. Wasn’t it just January? Wasn’t I just ringing in the new year? Seriously time goes by so freaking fast. Maybe it’s because I went to England for two weeks… that must have something to do with it. While spring is slowly settling in (even though we got a foot of snow in CO yesterday…) I am so glad we are getting out of the coldest months of the year. Like really extraordinarily glad, my California self doesn’t do well in all this packed white shit. 

I have been filling out my graduation announcements! I even taught myself (well youtube taught me) calligraphy so I could write everyone’s names beautifully on the envelopes. It is a hobby that I have always wanted to try and I figured this would be a good opportunity to try! Don’t you love successfully teaching yourself something from youtube?! I always feel like… college, what’s college?! I’ve got youtube! ha!

Other than getting back and settled from my vacation (yeah I def needed a little day or two vacation from my vacation #firstworldproblems) I have just been planning out my life into adult hood after I graduate. Which basically looks like a blank piece of paper with a few scribbles that even I can read… don’t worry i’ll figure it out … really soonish!

A coffee walnut cake frosted topped with walnuts.

In the mean time I’ll Easter the weekend away 🙂 This cake was 100% inspired by my trip to England. I can still remember my first bite of coffee walnut cake. I was sitting in Lucy’s Tea Room and put this cake in my mouth and it was NOT what I was expecting. 

Do you remember when you first tried mocha almond fudge ice cream? Yeah that was a good moment for me too. Well I had a similar experience with this cake. It’s the type of dessert that you can breathe out through your nostrils and get all the flavor, which is weird but you know what I mean… It is NOT an overly sweet cake but super moist and flavorful. It’s got a really nice airy texture and the crunch of the walnuts is a great little kick.

The real superstar in this cake is the buttercream though. It is physically and metaphorically the ‘glue’ that holds this masterpiece together. The coffee flavoring gives the perfect balance to the buttercream. Buttcream can be super sweet at times and this gives it a nice lil cuuuuurve that it needs. Throw some chocolate cadbury eggs on top and you’ve got yourself a darling easter cake for this weekend :)!


  • Unsalted butter at room temp
  • Brown sugar
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Instant coffee granules
  • Boiling water
  • Whole milk
  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Room temperature butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar
  • Half&half or milk
  • Instant coffee granules
  • Boiling water
  • + Extra walnuts for cake garnish

two slices of coffee walnut cake on white plates with orange tulips.

Other great cake recipes: 

If you make this Coffee Walnut Cake, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram! I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

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Coffee Walnut Cake

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20-25
  • Total Time: 45min
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake


This rich and wholesome coffee walnut cake is perfect for any occasion.



for cake:
2 Sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter at room temp

1 Cup of packed brown sugar

1/4 Cup of pure maple syrup

1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 Large eggs

5 Teaspoons of instant coffee granules

1 Tablespoon of boiling water

1 Cup of whole milk

3 Cups of cake flour

4 Teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon of salt

1 Cup of chopped walnuts

for buttercream:

2 Sticks (1 cup) of room temperature butter

2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon of salt

3 Cups of powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons of half&half or milk

5 Teaspoons of instant coffee granules

1 Tablespoon of boiling water

+ Extra walnuts for cake garnish


for cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F
  2. Prepare two 8-inch cake tins or three 6-inch cake tins (used in recipe shown) by greasing, flour dusting and lining bottoms with parchment paper, set aside
  3. In a large bowl fitted with a stand mixer or hand mixer cream butter for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in brown sugar and beat for an additional two minutes. In a steady stream add in vanilla extract and maple syrup until incorporated. Crack in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  4. Dissolve instant coffee granules in boiling water and beat into butter/ sugar mixture. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour + baking powder + salt) and mix well. Add half of this dry mixture into wet sugar mixture. Alternating between milk and dry ingredients until everything is mixed and incorporated, *do not over mix. Remove from beater and gently fold in walnuts. Pour evenly into cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick is removed clean. Let cool for twenty minutes. Ring a knife around sides of cake tins and transfer to cooling racks for an additional thirty minutes until cooled. Trip dome tops if needed. 

for buttercream

  1. In a large bowl fitted with a hand or stand mixer beat butter, vanilla extract and salt until light and fluffy. In a small bowl dissolve coffee granules with boiling water. Add coffee granule mixture and milk to butter and half of powdered sugar and beat well. Scrape down sides of bowl and add in the rest of the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Keywords: Coffee, walnut, coffee walnut cake, cake

Don’t forget to save this cake recipe for later! 


  1. Laura
    April 30, 2020 / 2:03 pm

    I made this cake and it was very yummy (: It was a flaky dense cake- A little different from one’s I have had before, but I thought it was delicious. I didn’t use instant coffee and just used a Nespresso Espresso pod and some coffee extract and it worked! The walnuts in the cake are a must- I shyed away from them because I was worried I wouldn’t like the crunch buuuut I thought it added another element so it wasn’t just coffee flavor- add the walnuts. I wish I would have put some walnuts in between the layers with the frosting. Yummy cake! thank you.

  2. Anett
    February 10, 2019 / 4:20 am

    Is this possible to make without coffee? Should i add something else instead of it? Thankyou

    • elizabethvanlierde7698
      February 11, 2019 / 4:35 pm

      Hi Anett!

      I haven’t actually tested this without coffee but my next best bet would be to try the same amount of water or milk as the coffee. Good luck!

  3. March 25, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    I need this cake in my life! so refined and beautiful, and I am intrigued by the flavor combination!

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