Rum-Mocha Walnut Cake

This is a delicious and classic coffee and walnut cake.



Serves 10-12

  • 2 cups walnut halves

  • 25g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder,  unsweetened

  • 65g (1/2 cup) flour

  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

  • 8 large eggs, separated

  • 200g (1 cup) sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch salt

  • fine dry bread crumbs, for dusting

For Filling

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water

  • 450g unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 Tbsp coffee liqueur

  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup dark rum, for brushing

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts. finely chopped, plus walnut halves for garnish



1. Preheat the oven to180°C (360°). Butter two 23 cm (9-inch) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with bread crumbs.

Make the Sponge cake

2. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely chopped. Add the cocoa powder, flour and espresso powder and pulse until the walnuts are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl.

3. In a large bowl, beat the yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar, until thick and pale. Beat in the vanilla.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until the whites are stiff. Gradually, fold the egg whites and ground walnuts into the yolk mixture. 

5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cakes are golden and springy. Transfer to a rack. Peel off the parchment. Turn the cakes right side up.

Make the Filling

6. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and salt. Gradually whisk in the dissolved espresso. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring , until the yolks are thick enough to coat the spatula. Set the bowl in the ice bath. Cool, stirring occasionally.

7. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually, beat in the yolk mixture; beating well between additions. Add the liqueur and vanilla.

Cake Assembly

8. Split each cake in half horizontally. On a cake plate, set a top layer; cut side up, brush it with 2 tablespoons of the rum and spread with 1/2 cup of the filling. Top with a bottom cake layer; brush with 2 more tablespoons of rum and spread with another 1/2 cup of filling.

9. Repeat with the remaining top cake layer, ending with the bottom layer, cut side down. Brush the top of the cake with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum and spread the sides of the cake with a thin layer of filling. Spread the remaining filling on the top. Press the chopped walnuts around the side of the cake.

10. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight. Let the cake stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Scatter the walnut halves on top before serving.

​​'' Anything is good if it's made of chocolate.” ― Jo Brand


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