Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes

Saturday 1 January 2022

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 
One of the cooking sites I like to visit from time to time is Food 52.  There are quite a lot of good recipes on that page, as well as the option of saving the ones you like to your own personal cookbook/lists. 

When I was in the UK I had a few of their cookbooks and I have replaced a couple since moving back to Canada.  The recipe I am sharing today comes from their book Genius Desserts, 100 recipes which will change the way you bake.

It is attributed to Claire Ptak and does not appear on their site. Not that I could find.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

In the write up for the recipe they talk about these giving off the vibe of a Canelé. A Canelé  is a French Cake from the south of France and they are quite custardy with the flavors of vanilla and rum.

I have eaten Canelé that I bought from a pastry shop in Saint Emilion in the south of France and I will be honest here, these bear not even a hint of resemblance. Not a smidgen in the least! 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

Having said that, however, they are very tasty cakes. Upside down cupcakes as it were, with beautiful flavors. 

They have a moist and tender crumb and you have a beautiful blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and pepper flavors,  with only the slightest crunch of rich toasty walnuts. That coffee glaze is the perfect way to top them off.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

One of my favorite of all the British Cakes has to be the Coffee and Walnut Cake.  You will see it on offer in all of the tea rooms across the UK.

Coffee and Walnuts have a flavor marriage made in heaven.  Adding ground cardamom into the mix along with pepper is a genius addition! 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes

I have always loved the flavor of coffee in desserts, chocolates, ice cream, etc.  I think cardamom is a flavor that goes very well and in face enhances both the flavors of the walnuts and the coffee icing.

Coffee, walnuts, cardamom. Three flavors that marry perfectly together.  (On a side note, don't you just love my tea cloth? It was a gift from my friend Paula for Christmas. I think it is just beautiful!)

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 


I am betting you have everything in your kitchen right now. The original recipe called for ground pink peppercorns. By all means use it if you have it. I used black pepper with perfect success.  

  • 3/4 cup (75g) walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) plain all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use salted butter so leave this out)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (you can use cardamom pods, remove the seeds and grind them in a spice grinder)
  • 1 tsp ground pink peppercorns (I used black)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 TBS (180g) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar (In the UK use castor sugar)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 TBS (210g) crème fraiche (I used sour cream)

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

For the glaze: 

1 1/2 cups (185g) sifted icing sugar
2 - 3 TBS freshly brewed strong coffee or espresso 

I just threw about 1 TBS of instant coffee granules into a small cup and added some boiling water. I didn't bother to cool it down in order to add it to the icing. 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

Pink peppercorns are not something which I have routinely in my kitchen and I would not go out and buy them specifically for a recipe such as this.

Pink peppercorns have a flavor that is very similar to black pepper, perhaps being a bit milder, with a hint of sweet and fruity. Black pepper makes a very suitable substitute. 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes


There is nothing very difficult about making these cakes.  It is a typical butter cake batter, baked in medium muffin cups.

You do want to butter your muffin cups really well so that the batter doesn't stick and dust them lightly with flour or bread crumbs, tapping out any excess.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

She does suggest warming your walnuts first to release their natural oils.  I usually toast my nuts, but today I warmed them as per her instructions.  

If I make these cakes again, I will definitely toast them. Just make sure you bring them back to room temperature before using them in the cake. They need to be finely chopped.  I use my zyliss food chopper. 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes

You need to sift together the flour, soda and baking powder in a bowl. Then stir in the spices and the walnuts.  The room temperature butter gets creamed together with the sugar until it is light and fluffy.

Once that happens you can beat in the eggs, one at a time. If you see the mixture beginning to curdle, you can beat in a TBS of the flour mixture.  Beat in the vanilla.

Once this is done you can stir in the flour, only until it is just mixed in and no dry streaks remain, and then you stir in the crème fraiche (sour cream) just to combine.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

The mixture gets divided between the prepared baking cups and baked for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake time. They are done when the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Leave them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before tipping them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  You want to leave them upside down in preparation for glazing.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes 

Once they are completely cold, whisk together the glaze ingredients, only adding enough coffee to give you a thick pourable glaze.

Spoon this mixture over top of each cakelette and leave it to set before serving.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container. 

I have not frozen them, nor have I baked them in any other sized container.  I do think they would freeze well however, without glazing.

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes

These cake are cakes that actually improve in flavor with each day that passes.  That has been my experience anyways.  The first day they were good, but each day they have become tastier.

I suppose that is as the flavors start to mellow out.  I think they are fabulous and I highly recommend! 

These were the perfect cake to begin the new year on!  Happy 2022 people!  I am really looking forward to exploring new flavors, tastes, recipes, etc. with you this year! 

Coffee, Cardamom, Walnut Cakelettes

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  1. What a great idea to make little cakes in a muffin tin! This recipe sounds so amazing.

    1. Thanks Jenny! I hope that you will be inspired to want to try these. They are fabulous! xo

  2. I made these today. I changed up some of the ingredients to make it vegan, but the spices along with the walnuts were very nice.

    1. I am so pleased you made these cakes and enjoyed them! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience! It is very much appreciated! xo


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