Vegan Coffee Walnut Cake

Since I started baking for Les Etages, a wonderful little cocktail bar in the heart of the Marais neighbourhood, I got a chance to try out a lot of different cake recipes from my favourite blogs and Instagram accounts, experiment with recipes, get feedback from the clients and observe their decision making processes while they're picking out which cake to indulge in.

As anyone can imagine, the way the cakes are decorated and how appetising or interesting they look play a role as well as the sugar content for some but the most entertaining discovery by now was realising how much the weather really played a part. When the days started to grow colder and shorter, I noticed that the lemon cake that got sold out within hours hardly sold anymore. Come mid-November, the top seller became chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and orange-cardamom cake with its decadent salted caramel sauce.

If you are wondering what this has to do with this coffee-walnut cake, bear with me for one more minute.

While it is true that we don't mind indulging in the heavier and heartier foods during colder months, I found out that with this cake, the weather or the season did not matter. It always sold well and it has been the absolute favourite of all my non-vegan friends who tried it. It can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee, tea or even white wine according to a client who got a little adventurous at the bar.

This is the simplest and easiest cake I've ever baked (even so that by now, I memorised the recipe by heart). It requires little to no prior baking knowledge, a short list of ingredients, no need to preheat the oven and the result is simply incredible. It is light, fluffy and the use of brown sugar gives it a wonderful but subtle caramel-like aroma.

I can confidently say that this recipe also provides you a great vegan cake base recipe to play around with. You can remove the coffee powder and add chopped bits of dark chocolate to the batter, or keep the coffee and add chocolate, which I did for an office party of a friend and the results were still amazing.

Here are some tips and possible modifications for food sensitivities ;

- While baking for someone with walnut allergy, walnuts can be replaced with chopped dark chocolate and you can shave some dark chocolate on top of the frosting for decoration.

- For the coffee, I prefer using decaf coffee powder to make sure clients who don't consume caffeine can enjoy this beauty without hesitation but any type of fine coffee powder will do.

- It is possible to use gluten-free flour but don't forget to add baking powder. (2 tsp baking powder should be enough)

While this recipe will make one single layer cake, there is a possibility to double the recipe and turn it into a wonderful two layer cake, making it a perfect option for birthdays or special events.

Bon Appétit!









256 gr self raising flour

200 gr soft brown sugar

3 tbsp fine coffee powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

245 gr plant milk (any plant milk of your choosing, I use oat and sometimes chocolate or hazelnut flavoured rice milk)

112 gr sunflower oil

40 grams of chopped walnuts + 17 whole walnuts to decorate (I use 2 walnuts per piece and one in the middle but you can


192 gr icing sugar

2 tbsp fine coffee powder

1 tsp coffee extract (if you don't have this, replace it with 1 tbsp fine coffee powder)

2 tbsp very cold water

57 gr dairy free butter


1. Mix all the ingredients for the cake except for the walnuts in a food processor or by hand.

2. Add the chopped walnuts to the batter by hand and fold them in gently.

3. Grease your tin (22 cm round cake tin) and place a baking parchment to the bottom of your pan.

4. Bake the cake at 180 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the centre of your cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.

5. Take it out and let it cool on a rack while you prepare the icing.

6. Put all the frosting ingredients in a food processor or use a hand mixer and mix until it's smooth, homogenous and spreadable and make sure your cake isn't warm before you ice it.

7. Ice and decorate the cake as you please then chill it in the fridge to set the icing if needed.

Recipe adapted from


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