Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Coffee and Walnut Cake

December is always a busy baking month, and in order not to have a reason to miss this months Cake Slice bake, I had to plan to make this cake even before Thanksgiving hit. 
Coffee and Walnut Cake is what I had to celebrate my birthday with in November. I'm one to normally keep birthdays to myself, I never mention them on social media. I'm weird like that. I don't like to make such a fuss. A simple Happy Birthday from the ones I love is enough to please me. No diamond ring, no perfume, no gifts are expected. I figure if you don't expect these things, then when you do receive them they come with more meaning. I don't want a gift from a loved one just because they feel pressured or obligated. I'm weird like that. 
This years Birthday gift was being able to help my 10 yr. old make my cake. It was unexpected too. I had pulled all my ingredients from the pantry when my daughter walks in and asks if she could help make it. Letting go of my O.C.D for the moment I stepped back and instructed when I felt necessary. She greased and lined the pans, sifted all the ingredients, creamed the butter and sugars, and I helped only with the oven. She made the filling too! I did have to guide her at the end of  frosting the cake. I was pretty impressed how well she smoothed the sides of the cake! For the first time in 75 bakes with the Cake Slice, I can honestly say I did not make this cake! 
If my future Birthdays consist of baking with the ones I love, then no other gift could be greater than that! 


  • 3/4 walnut halves
  • 3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) butter,softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. instant coffee powder mixed to a paste with water
  • 1 1/3 c. self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
For the Filling and topping:
  • 1 tbsp. boiling water
  • 1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1 c. mascarpone
  • 1/3 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F., and grease and line two 8" round baking pans.
  2. Toast walnuts in oven for 6 minutes.
  3. Cool walnuts slightly and set aside nine most perfect halves ( for garnish of the cake) and chop the rest.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the coffee paste.
  5. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix only until incorporated, add the chopped nuts, mix only until combined.
  6. Pour into prepared baking pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes, before turning out onto wire cooling rack.
  8. To make the filling, make a paste with boiling hot water and instant coffee.
  9. Soften the mascarpone with the confectioner's sugar in a mixer, beat only enough to incorporate, DO NOT OVER BEAT. Add the heavy cream then the coffee paste and beat until mixed. 
  10. To assemble cake, place one layer on a cake plate. Add 1/3 filling and spread, place second layer on top and coat top and side with remaining filling. Smooth the sides and top of cake. 
  11. Place the the nine walnut halves around the top of the cake and chill to set the frosting. Before serving remove from refrigerator and dust with confectioner's sugar. 

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti: #CreativeCookieExchange

"Nuts in Cookies" is the theme for the "Creative Cookie Exchange" this month! Pistachio Biscotti has been on my to do list for a long time, and baking these delicious cookies couldn't come at a better time than the Holidays! 
I found the cookies to be slightly sweeter than I expected, perhaps due to the addition of the cranberries. For this reason I skipped the coating of white chocolate I had planned on giving them. But by all means if you have a sweeter tooth than I do, then go ahead and give these a dip in white chocolate, making them a prettier presentation. 


  • 2 1/4 c. unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c. raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, add vanilla and almond extract until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. On low speed slowly add the flour mixture until combined, add the nuts and cranberries, just until mixed.
  4. Shape two loafs 13x2-inch, on parchment lined baking sheet, spacing the loafs 3 inches apart. Bake the loaves until golden, about 35 minutes.
  5. Cool the loaves on baking sheet for ten minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325.
  6. Slice the loaves on a cutting board, into 1/2 inch thick slices, using a serrated knife. Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.
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Nuts in cookies are a tradition celebrated all over the world--and Creative Cookie Exchange has joined the party! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made: