Mini Coffee Walnut Cakes

Flipping Monday upside down like these fluffy cardamom walnut cakes topped with coffee mascarpone whipped cream. # 289: Mini Coffee Walnut Cakes

Yep those are cardamom walnut muffins masquerading as cakes with fancy mascarpone hats! The discarded muffin tops made the perfect snack sandwiched with the extra coffee mascarpone cream.

I love this piping design, and but I realized that out of all the dozens of piping tips I own, I didn’t have one that would create a large flat ribbon. Luckily, I had the perfect substitute! One of my large round piping tips explored the garbage disposal last year and by the time it was rescued, it had been messily squished into a thin oval shape. A pair of needle nose pliers and some patience combined to make a fancy new tip.

Coffee and walnut cakes are an extremely popular British tea cake and I’ve watched countless hours of Thida Bevington bake and frost them on Instagram. The classic version has espresso powder dissolved into a thick yummy sludge mixed into the batter, in addition to coffee frosting or glaze. I stumbled on this less-coffee-focused version in my Genius Desserts book and decided to give them a go. They lean more towards a spice cake with a mix of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and black pepper complimenting the toasted walnuts.

Obviously, I’ll have to try making a more classic British coffee and walnut cake in the future! Biggest question is: are you supposed to drink coffee or tea with it?

My mom and sister are sadly allergic to walnuts, so I have an ingrained hesitation cooking with them. I think this actually might be my first ever blog bake using walnuts! Technically, these could be made with pecans (or no nuts at all) and it would still be delicious. Ooo, you could use toasted hazelnuts instead, toning down the spices and adding cocoa powder to the topping. (We’re getting really far from the classic version here, but that’s half the fun isn’t it?)

I didn’t have creme fraiche on hand (does anyone? I was impressed enough with myself that I had mascarpone on hand), but I did have heavy cream and cream cheese. Cream cheese has a similar tang to creme fraiche, but is a lot thicker. Mix it with heavy cream to loosen it up and voila!

Lightly toasted and chopped small. They. Smell. So. Good.

Mixing them into the dry ingredients first will help them from all sinking to the bottom (which would be the top since these are flipped cakes!) Similarly to when you dredge chicken or fish in flour before coating it in egg or batter, coating the nuts in flour helps them stick to the rest of the batter once it’s all mixed, suspending them evenly through the baked cake.

So much potential.

I put a little rug in front of the oven so I can be that person watching my bakes through the oven window. It’s so fun to watch the cakes go from lumps of sticky dough, to puddles of melted batter to fluffy domes of cake!

Eek I forgot to take a picture of the ingredients for the topping! Mascarpone, whipped cream, espresso powder, powdered sugar and vanilla whipped to fluffy peaks. The recipe suggested a coffee glaze which would have also been delicious, but I was in a fancy piping mood.

The waiting for them to cool is agony.

Happy little plateaus.

Coffee fascinator in place.

Happy munching!

Cake recipe from: Genius Desserts by Food52

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