Tiramisu walnut coffee cake

Tiramisu & Walnut Cake

I present you my tiramisu walnut cake: what’s better than an Italian-British combo (like me :D)? This cake is a celebration of two amazing staple desserts – the Italian tiramisu and the British coffee and walnut cake. This balanced mix of flavours makes for a very delicate but distinctive cake you will want to eat again and again. 

We’ll use mascarpone cheese for the frosting and a bit of cocoa powder borrowing the secret ingredients of the iconic tiramisu. We’ll enrich the batter with lots of coffee and grounded walnuts like in any recipe of the famous coffee and walnut cake.

This cake combines the flavours of two countries I love, two parts of my soul.

Every respectful stationary shop will sell at least one item with the famous quote: the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

I must say I completely agree: travelling and living abroad allows you to see things from a different perspective, putting yourself in other people shoes, shaking up your beliefs and values, building up your own life from scratch. In my opinion, everyone should have the opportunity to spend at least a year abroad, far away from family, comfort and habits. You travel to see the world, but what you find is yourself.

The other side of travelling is that it involves a lot of sacrifice. I recently had this conversation with a stranger and I am still so perplexed on what they told me.  They said living abroad is the easy choice. Well, is it?

I completely disagree on this statement on different levels so let me make it clear.

It is not about what’s easy and what’s difficult. What’s difficult is very personal. Plus, all the people I know living abroad have constant doubt about their choice. You gain a lot living abroad, but you equally give up a lot. You are constantly the different one, you speak and eat differently from the others and the others won’t be shy about it: how many times will they just joke about it? You miss lots of family events and you will constantly feel the guilt of not being there. You might not even have a choice and might have to live abroad. You won’t necessarily earn more money – because it’s not all about money. You will be defined by your nationality as never before, while slowly losing it under the surface.

Suddenly, you won’t belong anywhere, too foreigner abroad, too different at home.

We’ll only surviving accepting our dual identity and going with the flow. We need to keep talking about it. Going beyond and deeper with the people who cares and explain them that we are both, locals and foreigners, in equal amounts.

Living abroad you give up on so much, that you must make the most of every opportunity life gets you. Living abroad, you will visit that new place right now as that’s what you are here for. You will get a coffee with that person you don’t know as that’s what you are here for. You will try that weird-looking food you never had before. You will keep interrogating yourself if that’s the job for you. You will keep searching for what you want. Living abroad reminds you everyday you are alive and that you need to take the best out of life.

This cake is about living abroad, treasuring a memory from each place you were part of. It’s about letting curiosity prevail over fear.

I hope you’ll get baking, close your suitcases, and embark on a new adventure – whatever that means to you.

Tiramisu & Walnut Cake

Course: Something SweetDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



I present you my tiramisu walnut cake: what’s better than an Italian-British combo (like me :D)? This cake is a celebration of two amazing staple desserts – the Italian tiramisu and the British coffee and walnut cake. This balanced mix of flavours makes for a very delicate but distinctive cake you will want to eat again and again.


  • Cake
  • 50 g ground walnuts

  • 150 g caster sugar

  • 200 g soft unsalted butter

  • 3 large eggs

  • 225 g plain flour

  • 10 g cocoa powder (4 tsp)

  • 10 g espresso powder (5 tsp)

  • 10 g baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 20 g milk (2 tbsp)

  • a pinch of salt

  • Cream
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese at room temperature

  • 50 g unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 2 espressos (around 50 ml of very strong coffee)

  • 75 g icing sugar

  • 5 – 10 walnut halves to decorate

  • Equipment
  • 2 x 20 cm cake tins


  • Prep
  • Let’s first do some prep: Preheat the oven to 180 C and line two 20 cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. Take out all the ingredients for the mascarpone cream as they need to be at room temperature. Measure up all the ingredients, ready, steady…bake it!
  • Cake
  • Ground 50 g of walnuts (I use the help of a food processor, if you don’t have it put all the walnuts in a tiny food bag and smash them with a rolling pin. It’s so liberating)
  • Mix the butter with sugar until combined and fluffy and add the eggs in (one at a time)
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, coffee, cocoa, milk, grounded walnuts, and a pinch of salt and fold till incorporated
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins (each batter will weight around 390 g) and bake them in the oven for 25 minutes (use the skewer’s trick to see if the cakes are ready: Insert a skewer at the centre of the cake: the cake is ready if it comes out clean).
  • Prep
  • Make some very strong expresso for the mascarpone cream by mixing 1 tsp of instant coffee with a spoon of boiling water. Let it cool down.
  • Be patient and let the cakes cool for 20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack. Let them now cool completely. Do not rush this.
  • Mascarpone cream
  • Once the sponges are at room temperature, make the mascarpone cream. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before starting then beat the mascarpone, butter, sifted icing sugar, the strong expresso (completely cooled !) with an electric mixer till smooth.
  • Dilute two tsp of instant coffee with four spoons of boiling water and brush the cake surface to make it extra moist.
  • Let’s sandwich up the two cakes. Turn the bottom one upside down so the two flat sides ‘touch each other’. If my two cakes turn out of a different size, I always use the tallest one at the bottom and slightly cut the top if too hilly.
  • Spread half the icing with a spatula, close with the second cake and add more icing on top. Spread it evenly so to cover the sides as well if you want a ‘naked cake’ style.
  • Decorate with walnuts.


  • Don’t have two cake tins? Don’t worry use only one cake tin but cook for 10 more minutes at 170 C.
  • Why using two tins? Using two tins is a very common way to bake cakes in the UK, but very unusual in other countries. I guess that’s because lots of traditional British cakes are sandwich cake (cake + filling + cake). Two cake tins avoid having to cut a cake in the middle – a much dreaded part of baking. Plus, it allows you to bake the cake much more quickly and you’ll have even layers without domes given that there is less batter in each tin. Having said that it also requires having two tins of the same size, instead of only one and this can be annoying if you don’t bake often or have a tiny kitchen. You can easily bake a ‘two tin cake recipe’ in just one tin, simply add 10 more minutes to cooking time and slightly lower the temperature of the oven.  Enjoy!

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