Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

This cosy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake is flavoured with instant coffee, studded with crunchy walnuts, and topped with the most delicious coffee cream cheese frosting. It’s homely, comforting and perfect for a mid-afternoon sweet treat with a hot cuppa!

coffee and walnut loaf cake

About this Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

  • FLAVOUR: the sponge has a rich, bold and strong coffee flavour which pairs beautifully with the tangy coffee cream cheese frosting. Not forgetting the lovely nutty flavour from the walnuts too!
  • TEXTURE: the loaf cake is soft and buttery, the frosting is smooth and creamy and the walnuts add a little crunch throughout.
  • SERVES: this recipe will fill a 2lb loaf tin and will make 10 chunky slices.
coffee and walnut loaf cake

Quick ingredients overview and substitutes

Let’s talk through the ingredients needed to make the coffee and walnut loaf cake, plus any substitution options:

  • Instant coffee granules – are first dissolved in boiling water to make a liquid, and then folded into the sponge mixture. Choose a good-quality, strong coffee for the best flavour (I used Nescafé Gold Blend Instant Coffee).
  • Unsalted butter – use soft, room temperature butter so it can be easily creamed with the sugar. You can instead use baking spread or margarine if you’d prefer.
  • Golden caster sugar – I love the caramel flavour that golden caster sugar brings to this loaf cake, but you can use white caster sugar instead.
  • Eggs – use the best-quality eggs you can find and make sure they are at room temperature. This recipe uses either 3 large eggs of 4 medium eggs.
  • Self-raising flour – the added raising agent in self-raising flour will give the loaf cake a lovely rise and fluffier texture. If you’re using all-purpose plain flour just add 3 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Ground cinnamon – an optional addition, but gives the sponge a warm, cosy flavour.
  • Walnuts – chopped up into small chunks, added to the sponge mixture and used to decorate the top of the cake. Pecans would also taste delicious in this recipe too!

The coffee cream cheese frosting tastes amazing with this cake

Classic coffee and walnut cake is typically sandwiched together with coffee buttercream. However, for this recipe I decided to switch things up and top it with coffee-infused cream cheese frosting instead. Trust me, it tastes amazing!!! The frosting is made using unsalted butter, icing sugar, full-fat cream cheese and a spoonful of fresh coffee. It’s super quick and easy to make and really does elevate the flavour of the sponge. Of course, you could instead leave the loaf cake plain, add a simple glaze, or even drizzle a little caramel on top. There are lots of options with this recipe!

Quick recipe success tips

  • Use a 2lb loaf tin. It’s important to use the same-sized loaf tin to get the best results from this recipe. The ingredient measurements and the baking time are only accurate if you use a 2lb loaf tin. However, if a 1lb loaf tin is all you have, try halving all of the ingredients and reducing the baking time to 45-50 minutes. 
  • Use instant coffee. This type of coffee dissolves easily in boiling water and can be added to sponge mixtures/frostings without leaving a gritty texture. Plus it has a strong, bold flavour.
  • Use cold cream cheese for the frosting. I’ve found this is the best way to stop the cream cheese frosting from becoming too thin or runny. Just keep the cream cheese in the fridge up until the point you need to add it to the bowl.
  • Try not to open the oven door before 60 minutes. This loaf cake should take somewhere between 65-75 minutes when baked at 160°C fan / 180°C conventional. Opening the oven door too early will let the hot air escape and this sudden change in temperature can cause the cake to sink in the middle. As a rule of thumb, do not open the oven before 60 minutes. You can test the sponge by pressing the middle gently with your finger, if the sponge springs back it’s ready. If your finger leaves an indent, bake for another 5-10 minutes. Don’t worry if the sponge has cracked down the middle, this is very normal with loaf cakes and you’ll cover it up with frosting anyway!
coffee and walnut loaf cake
Coffee and walnut loaf cake

Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

This cosy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake is flavoured with instant coffee, studded with crunchy walnuts, and topped with coffee-infused cream cheese frosting. It's homely, comforting and perfect for a mid-afternoon sweet treat with a hot cuppa!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course baking, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British
Servings 10


Coffee and walnut loaf cake

  • 2 tbsp Instant coffee granules
  • 300 g Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 300 g Golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium Eggs room temperature. You could use 3 large eggs instead.
  • 300 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon optional
  • 150 g Walnuts chopped into small chunks

Coffee cream cheese frosting

  • 75 g Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 75 g Full-fat cream cheese keep in the fridge
  • 150 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Instant coffee granules


Start by making the coffee and walnut loaf cake

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan / 180°C conventional. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee granules in 1 tbsp boiling water. Place in the fridge to cool.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding one tablespoon of the flour with each to stop the mixture from curdling.
  • Add the remaining flour and cinnamon, then fold together to make a smooth cake mixture.
  • Now fold in the cooled coffee and 100g of the chopped walnuts (save the rest to decorate with later).
  • Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 65-75 minutes until risen, golden and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Now make the coffee cream cheese frosting

  • First dissolve the instant coffee granules in 0.5 tbsp boiling water and place in the fridge to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, beat the butter until soft and pale in colour. Beat in the icing sugar in two stages until the buttercream is smooth and combined. Then mix in the cooled coffee.
  • Add the cold cream cheese and gently fold it in to make a smooth and creamy frosting. Be careful not to over-mix as this can cause the cream cheese to loosen and become runny. If your frosting is too thin, place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  • Spread the coffee cream cheese frosting on top of your loaf cake and use the back of a spoon to make a swirly pattern.
  • Scatter the remaining chopped walnuts on top, then slice and enjoy!


Store your Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake in the fridge, in a baking tin, for up to 3 days.
Keyword coffee and walnut loaf, coffee cake, coffee cream cheese frosting

Have you made this Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake?

I really hope you enjoyed it and would love to hear what you think! Leave a comment or star rating below. Drop me a message on my Instagram or tag @jessie.bakes.cakes in your posts so I can see your delicious loaf cake.

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Hannah Tyler
Hannah Tyler
19 days ago

5 stars
Such a great bake. And such a crowd pleaser!!

2 months ago

5 stars
The cake is amazing – just cooling on the rack, now! But – could you please edit the second paragraph in the frosting recipe, because it doesn’t make sense!
Thank you! 😊

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