I have very fond memories of growing up in Zimbabwe enjoying this cake. My Mum always had something in the cake or biscuit tin and this was one of my favourites. I remember the enjoyment of it with a cup of afternoon tea (or three!) with my family out in the garden, sitting on the grass, sun shining … those were the days! Her original recipe wasn’t gluten free (you can see the original version here) but I have translated it here and it works a treat. One of the adjustments I make from the plain version, is relating to the sugar. When it comes to baking, brown sugar is more hygroscopic than plain caster sugar. See my post here to get the full explanation. And as gluten free cakes can be on the dry side, it’s one way of keeping the cake moister than if you used plain caster sugar.
How to make gluten free walnut cake in step by step instructions
First prepare the tin
Line with it with parchment.
Mix the cake
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time mixing well before the next bit of egg. Fold in the flour and finally the walnuts.
Bake the cake
Put the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake at 150C for about an hour or until the skewer comes out clean.
Make the icing
Heat all the icing ingredients except the icing sugar in a small saucepan until the butter is just melted. Sieve the icing sugar into the melted mixture and mix to a smooth paste. Allow to cool and thicken to a spreadable consistency. This could be anything from 15-30 minutes.
Decorate the cake
Ice the cake and decorate with chopped toasted walnuts.
If you don’t like coffee icing you can always change it to a chocolate one of your choice. I personally find the icing very sweet and prefer my cake without any icing at all!
Gluten free walnut cake
- 15cm (6") square, loose bottom cake tin
- 170 g butter, softened
- 170 g light brown soft sugar
- 150 g egg
- 230 g gluten free flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 115 g chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 85 g butter
- 340 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- 1½ tablespoons very strong coffee
- 70 g chopped walnuts, toasted
- First line a 15cm (6 inch) square loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
- Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder a couple of times to ensure the baking powder is evenly mixed with the flour.
- Take about a tablespoon of the flour and mix it in with the walnuts (this helps prevent them sinking). Set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs a little at a time beating well before adding the next inclusion.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder adding the milk in two inclusions.
- Finally fold in the nuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and demould the cake from the tin. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
- Now make the coffee fudge icing. Heat the milk, butter and coffee until the butter is just melted. Do not boil.
- Sieve the icing sugar into the melted ingredients. Add a little extra milk if required to make it a thick, smooth paste.
- Beat until smooth. Leave to cool and set a little before icing the cake.
- Ice all sides of the cake. If you find it gets a little hard, wet your palette knife with a little boiling water from the kettle and this will help to smooth the icing.
- Decorate with the toasted walnut pieces.