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Coffee Cake

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.

Nana Ling recorded this recipe back in November 1941. I 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.

Coffee Cake

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.

Making Nana Ling’s Coffee Cake

You’ll need two bar tins for this recipe.

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.

decorating coffee cake

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.

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!

cooked coffee cake in bar tin

Nana Ling’s Coffee Cake recipe

Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.

coffee cake recipe
coffee cake

Coffee Cake

This beautiful Coffee Cake recipe delivers a hit of coffee along with a little sugar rush!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: coffee cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 bar cakes
Calories: 2329kcal



  • 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.


Calories: 2329kcal | Carbohydrates: 260g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 131g | Saturated Fat: 76g | Cholesterol: 643mg | Sodium: 1629mg | Potassium: 1112mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 132g | Vitamin A: 3713IU | Calcium: 233mg | Iron: 10mg
Recipe Rating

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