or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.
Looking for a coffee hit?
This Coffee Cake recipe delivers a hit of coffee along with a little sugar rush!
It’s also a feast for the eyes, decorated with almonds, coconut, peel and rose petals.
Coffee Cake Recipe
Nana Ling recorded this recipe back in November 1941. I have tweaked the recipe to include real espresso coffee rather than coffee flavouring (while reducing the amount of milk) and it worked a treat.
This Coffee Cake is light and moist with that REAL coffee taste.
Here’s the original recipe – but please keep scrolling to the end of this post for the recipe card which contains the updated recipe.
What is Coffee Cake?
The answer to this question may actually vary depending on which part of the world you’re from.
When I saw “coffee cake” in Nana Ling’s recipe book, I immediately thought of a coffee flavoured cake. And as I kept reading through the recipe, I was indeed on the right track.
However, this is a British way of thinking about coffee cakes. For those of you in the US, coffee cake might be any type of cake that is eaten with coffee.
And while the Brits usually top their cake with coffee-flavoured cream, in other parts of the world you might find nuts, cinnamon and streusel atop these cakes.
So, it seems Nana Ling’s is a British style cake – being coffee flavoured – that borrows from other regions with its nutty, cinnamon topping. Nice one, Nana Ling!
If it’s a US-style coffee cake you’re after, here’s a list of 13 lovely US-style coffee cakes.
Coffee Cake Ingredients
To make this cake, you’ll need:
- caster sugar
- espresso coffee
- plain flour
- cream of tartar
- bicarb soda.
To decorate the cake as I’ve done here, you’ll also need:
- ground cinnamon
- slivered almonds
- mixed peel
- dried edible rose petals
- coconut flakes
You’ll also need two bar tins for this recipe.
How to make Nana Ling’s Coffee Cake
Like many cakes recipes, this one starts with pre-heating the oven (to 170 degrees celsius, in this instance) and creaming the butter and sugar.
Once the mixture is lighter and fluffier, add the milk and coffee gradually while beating on low speed.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Sift in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into two well-greased bar tins.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Once out of the oven, you ice and decorate this cake while it’s still hot.
Icing and Decorating
Spread the butter over the top of the cakes while they’re still hot.
Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture over the two bar cakes.
Roast slivered almonds in oven until browned.
Arrange almonds, coconut and mixed peel on top of the cakes.
Diagonal stripes look lovely or you can just mix all three together and sprinkle over the cakes.
Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the cakes.
Finally, sprinkle rose petals over both cakes.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Some of the ingredients may not be in your cupboard. I found things like rose petals and coconut flakes at a local international grocery store. So make sure you read through the ingredient list before you launch into cooking up this recipe.
Of course, you can also substitute some of the decorating ingredients for other things. I think this coffee cake would also taste AMAZING with a cream topping.
Q. Do I need a stand mixer?
The week I cooked up this recipe coincided with the week my stand mixer blew up!
So I actually used a small electric hand beater which my Nan Mac (Nana Ling’s daughter) gave me for my glory box about 30 years ago! It’s still going – unlike my more modern stand mixer. And it worked just fine.
This shouldn’t be surprising to me, since Nana Ling recorded this recipe back in 1941, a time when she likely didn’t have electricity let alone a fancy stand mixer!
Q. How long will my cake keep?
Your Coffee Cake will keep for up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry spot.
Q. Do you have other cake recipes?
You might like to try one of these:
- Chocolate Banana Cake
- Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- Swiss Roll
- Sultana Cake
- Banana Bread
- Orange and Walnut Cake
- Coconut Cake
- Sponge Cake
- Lemon Cake.
You can also check out the entire Cooking with Nana Ling cake collection here.
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 225 grams butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup espresso coffee (about 2 shots)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 knob butter
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup mixed peel
- 1/3 cup dried edible rose petals
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- Beat butter and sugar to a cream.
- Add milk and coffee gradually while beating.
- Add eggs and mix well.
- Sift in dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour mixture into two well-greased bar tins.
- Cook at 170 degrees celsius (fan-forced) for 45 minutes.
- Spread butter over top of cakes while still hot.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture over the two bar cakes.
- Roast slivered almonds in oven until browned.
- Arrange almonds, coconut and mixed peel on top of the cakes. Diagonal stripes look lovely or you can just mix all three together and sprinkle over the cakes.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the cakes.
- Finally, sprinkle rose petals over both cakes.