Vegan coffee walnut cake

Vegan coffee walnut cake

vegan coffee walnut cake cut

It’s almost the weekend again, yay! I am looking forward to this one immensely given that the last one did not feel like a weekend at all. We put the final coat of paint on the guest bedroom’s walls last night and the room looks fantastic this morning. Once our guests leave, we will paint the skirting boards and the radiator (like the walls, it’s been also painted lilac!! by the previous owners) and then on to the fun stuff – picking a light, furniture, soft furnishings, maybe a couple of plants that will endure my gardening anti-talent 😉 .

After we are done with this room, we will take a bit of a breather and then move onto finishing the study. At the moment, only half of the wallpaper has been stripped off and the other half of that toxic stuff is still waiting for us. Meh, it’s easily one of the least enjoyable jobs, but it is easy to do, so we might as well do that and pay for jobs we are not able to take care ourselves – like our roof needs some TLC apparently! Oh well, that’s the trade-off for the Victorian charm.

It was Duncan’s birthday earlier this month, but as it coincided with us moving house, I did not manage to bake him a cake – not that he is ever deprived of cakes in this house, mind you! So I’ve decided to put it right and made one of his favourites – vegan coffee and walnut cake.

It’s a small cake rather than a full-blown birthday layer cake as I am really busy today again getting the house ready for our guests, washing, cleaning and pottering. But he does not mind as we’ve been pigging out a bit lately and I also heard from my brother that my mom is sending us truckloads of vegan mazurek (traditional Polish Easter cake, which is essentially a shortbread base deep-filled with a variety of fillings) so there will be lots of sweet stuff to get through. What a chore 😛 !

vegan coffee walnut cake icing

vegan coffee walnut cake walnut

vegan coffee walnut cake cross section

1 kg / 2 lb
30 min
50 min
1 kg / 2 lb
30 min
50 min
COFFEE FROSTING (I recommend making it a day ahead)

  • 60 ml / ¼ cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup very strong coffee*
  • 195 g / 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 20 min

Dry ingredients

  • 180 g / 1½ cups all purpose white flour or all purpose GF flour mix
  • 100 g / 1 cup finely ground walnuts
  • ½ heaped tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150 g / ¾ cup caster sugar
  • chopped walnuts, to decorate (optional)

Wet ingredients

  • 195 ml / ¾ cup + 1 tbsp plant milk (I used almond milk)
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup very strong coffee*
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup melted refined coconut oil (or other mild tasting oil)


COFFEE FROSTING (I recommend making it a day ahead)

  1. Put maple syrup, vanilla extract and coffee at the bottom of a blender. Add approximately one quarter of the drained cashews (discard the water) and blend until super smooth.
  2. Proceed to blend the cashews until super smooth, quarter by quarter. If your blender is getting stuck, try breaking an air pocket that tends to form under the mixture of the surface with a spatula while the blender is operating (but please be extra careful not to go anywhere near the blades). If that does not help add a touch of plant milk, but no more than 1-2 tbsp of thin milk. This should help your blender churn the thick mixture.
  3. Refrigerate for a few hours, ideally overnight, for the mixture to thicken and for the flavours to develop.


  1. Set the oven to 180° C / 355° F (160° C / 320° F fan forced). Grease a 900 g / 2 lb cake tin (please see notes) with a little bit of oil.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the remaining dry ingredients (ground walnuts, baking soda and baking powder) and fine caster sugar. Mix everything well.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients (if using coconut oil, warm up plant milk a little as refrigerated milk will make coconut oil solidify) and fold them gently into the dry ingredients until no flour pockets remain.
  4. Fill the tin with the batter – it should be thick but still very pourable – and place in the preheated oven for approx. 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool down completely before removing it from the tin, icing it, decorating with chopped walnuts and cutting into slices.

*I made ½ cup / 120 ml of very strong coffee (3 tbsp, I used Chemex) and divided it between the icing and the cake. You could also use instant coffee and hot water.

PLEASE NOTE that a 2lb cake tin is very different from a 2lb bread tin. A 2lb cake tin (which should be used here) holds about 5 cups / 1250 ml (by contrast the bread one holds 8 cups / 2000 ml). The batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.

18 g
18 g
6 g
6 g
36 g
*per serving
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26 reviews, 89 comments
Hello, would it be alright if I used blanched almond flour for the GF flour?
This cake looks absolutely delicious and the reviews are great, so I'm eager to make it!
    Hi Priya,
    It won't be exactlt the same (almond flour is very fine) but it should work okay. The flavour will be different, of course! I would use the same amount by weight not volume. Hope you'll enjoy it. x Ania
Can I bake this in a cake pan, and what dimensions would you recommend?
Would it alter the flavour/texture much to use ground almonds in place of ground walnuts?
    Hi Anita,
    When you say a cake pan, what exactly do you mean? This cake is based on my earlier recipe (see here), which I baked in a 16.5 / 6.5 inches springform tin. To make it bigger (also 2 layers) so that it fits a 20 cm / 8 inch round tin, you will need to add 50% more batter ingredients and extend baking time a little. You can use ground almonds, they are ground a bit finer usually but that should be okay, the flavour will be different though, yes. Hope this helps! Ania
This cake was divine! So easy to make, and by far the most delicious coffee cake I’ve ever eaten, vegan or otherwise. It was moist, subtle, sophisticated - so more-ish. Thank you Ania, your recipes are always beautifully thought out and reliably brilliant. 🙏
    Aw, thank you so much Mary! I am absolutely chuffed to hear that you enjoyed this cake so much (it's my husband's favourite too) and thank you so much for taking the time to review, as always, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Radmila Dolokhanova:
Last q - I have a regular banana bread pan, will that totally change the results?!
    I am not sure what you mean by 'regular banana bread pan', but I baked this cake in a rectangular 2lb loaf cake pan that holds 5 cups (1250 ml) of liquid to the brim. And yes, the size of the tin and the surface area of the cake does affect the results. Hope that helps. Ania
Radmila Dolokhanova:
Hi! Can I blend walnuts myself to make finely ground walnuts? Or do you suggest a meal?
    Hi Radmila,
    Yes, sure you can! In fact that's what I did too. Just makes sure to blend them finely. Hope you'll enjoy the cake. x Ania
Laura Dixon:
Amazing recipe, holds together with great texture unlike some other vegan cake recipes. Great flavour which won over non-vegan family and friends! We love Lazy Cat Kitchen recipes and they’re our go-to when looking for something new to make.
    I'm so delighted to hear that this cake was a hit with you and even your non-vegan family and friends, that's so lovely to hear! Thank you for trusting my recipes and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this lovely review, thank you! x Ania
I made this cake for a friends birthday and everybody was delighted by the delicious coffee-nut taste. I used pecans instead of walnuts and additionally added a pinch of tonka bean to the frosting. It was perfect!
    I'm really happy that you and your friends enjoyed this cake, Veronika and thank you so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Meriani Ang:
Amazing recipe. The coffee frosting turns out very delicious, my brother who is not a vegan even love it and praise it.
I substitute caster sugar with powdered palm sugar and use only 80 gr, perfectly sweet for my taste bud. The cake is still in the oven but the smells good all around the house. Thanks for the good recipe Ania. I always confuse how to utilize the walnut since i am not a big fan of its taste and aroma. But hopefully the cake turns out delicious since the walnut aroma covered by coffee. Your recipe is very easy to follow and all the ingredients available in my kitchen.
    Thank you, Meriani! I'm delighted to hear that the frosting went down so well, including your non-vegan brother, I hope the cake does too. I am a little worried about reducing sugar that much as sugar isn't just there for sweetness but also structure/crumb, but I hope that the cake won't be negatively affected - fingers crossed. x Ania
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