Lifestyle

Espresso loaf cake with burnt butter and coffee icing by Diana Henry

This is denser than regular coffee cake, as it’s made by the melt-and-mix method. I use a coffee extract for it, made by Nielsen-Massey. If you can’t find it, use Camp Coffee, available in most supermarkets.

Serves 10
For the cake
unsalted butter 225g, plus more for the tin
strong coffee 200ml, preferably espresso
soft light brown sugar 150g
golden syrup 225g
coffee extract 2 tsp
eggs 2 large, lightly beaten
plain flour 240g
malted brown or wholemeal flour 100g
salt a pinch
bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
walnuts 75g, roughly chopped

For the icing
instant espresso powder 2 tbsp
unsalted butter 100g
icing sugar 200g, sifted
walnuts 2 tbsp, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 150C fan/gas mark 3½. Butter a loaf tin that measures 23cm x 12.5cm x 7cm and line the base with baking parchment.

Put the coffee in a pan with the butter, sugar and syrup. Heat gently, without boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a jug and leave to cool. Whisk in the coffee extract and eggs.

Sift the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the bran from the sieve. Toss in the walnuts. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet mixture, stirring together gradually. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and turn the right way up. Allow to cool.

Dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and cool. Melt the butter in a pan, then increase the heat and cook until it has just turned brown and nutty. Leave to cool. Put the butter in a mixer with the icing sugar and beat, gradually adding the coffee. Cover and chill to firm up.

Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the cake. As it’s a tea cake, fancy embellishments aren’t quite right, but scatter with the toasted chopped walnuts.