Coffee and Walnut Cake [Vegan]

Each year, for my mum’s birthday in May, I love to challenge myself to create a new vegan cake for her. This tradition started back in 2013, when I made my first ever vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake (and, to this day, that cake remains one of the most popular recipes on my blog!!) For this year’s birthday, I decided to attempt a Coffee and Walnut Cake. It’s an oldie but a goodie (and one of my personal favourites!)

And my mum’s verdict?

She messaged me when I got home to say that this might be my best cake ever! 🤭

And coming from my mum, that is some accolade!!

My birthday was a couple of weeks after my mum’s, so I decided to remake the cake and check the recipe notes that I’d quickly scribbled on a piece of paper. Rather than starting the recipe from scratch, I’d used my trusty Chocolate Celebration Cake as a starting point, then tweaked the ingredient ratios to compensate for the coffee. It worked a charm!

Since then, I’ve made the cake three more times for friend and family celebrations (checking the recipe each time!) It’s received lots of positive feedback so I’m finally confident enough to share it on the blog.

I’m not normally a fan of cake frosting, but the coffee frosting on this cake, I love! You can use any kind of instant coffee in the frosting. In the first five cakes I made, I used Beanies flavoured coffees which came in one of my The Vegan Kind Lifestyle Subscription Boxes. The Irish Cream, Creamy Caramel and Cookie Dough flavours were especially good, and made the frosting taste even more delicious!

More recently, I’ve been using Nescafe Gold Espresso, bought from Sainsbury’s.

As a twist on traditional coffee and walnut cake, I decided to decorate mine with roasted pistachios and rose petals. The green and pink colours looked so pretty set against the backdrop of the coffee frosting

If you do have roses in your garden, it’s a lovely touch to use them as decoration on your bakes. The petals you see in the photos in this post came from my friend’s garden, so every time I see them it reminds me of her (which makes me smile a lot!) 

It’s really easy to dry petals for cake decoration. I’ll pop the instructions in another blog post in case you’d like to give it a try yourself.

Vegan Coffee and Walnut Cake

This cake is just perfect for celebrations. It's one of my family's favourite birthday cakes! The frosting recipe detailed below is sufficient for a thin layer in the middle and the top of the cake (as shown in the picture). If you'd like a thicker frosting, I would recommend doubling the recipe.
Hands-on time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Afternoon Tea, Celebrations, Elevenses, Treat
Cuisine English
Servings 12


  • 420 ml / 1¾ cups soya milk
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup very strong cold coffee*
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 260 g / 2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 200 g / 1½ cups fine wholemeal (whole wheat) flour or chapatti flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 140 ml / ⅔ cup rapeseed (canola) oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 330 g / 1⅔ cups unrefined cane sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110 g / 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped


  • 300 g / 2¼ cups icing (powdered) sugar
  • 90 g / 6 TBSP dairy-free spread/vegan butter
  • TBSP very strong cold coffee**

Suggested toppings

  • 50 g / ⅓ cup unsalted roasted pistachios
  • handful of dried rose petals, crushed


  • Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F. Grease the sides of two 23cm / 9 inch loose-bottomed tins and line the bottoms with non-stick baking paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, coffee and vinegar, then set to one side.
  • In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients (plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt) and stir to combine.
  • Add the oil, sugar and vanilla extract to the wet ingredient bowl, and whisk until fully combined (using a hand whisk). Sieve in a third of the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add another third and whisk to combine. Add the last third along with any remaining wheatgerm left in the sieve. Stir through to combine (but do not over stir).
  • Fold in the walnuts.
  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared tins. Place on racks as close to the centre of the oven as possible. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the the cakes are springy when lightly pressed. (In my oven, I find the cake on the higher rack is ready in 40 minutes, and the cake on the lower rack often needs an extra 5 minutes).
  • Leave the cakes in their tins for at least an hour (they will firm up as they cool), then transfer to a wire rack.
  • While they’re cooling, prepare the frosting. Place the icing sugar, dairy-free spread/vegan butter and coffee in a mixing bowl. Stir with a metal spoon until it starts to combine, then beat with electric beaters (or a fork) until light and fluffy. If the frosting looks a little stiff, add a teaspoon of water and keep beating. Store the frosting in the fridge until needed.
  • Once the cakes are completely cooled, decorate with the frosting and assemble. Sprinkle on your toppings of choice and lightly press them into the frosting. Chill the cake before serving.
  • Stored in an airtight container, the cake will keep for about three days at room temperature, and up to a week in the fridge. It also freezes well.


  • I use 1 TBSP of instant coffee dissolved in 60ml / ¼ cup cold water
** I use 1½ tsp (2 g) dissolved in 1 TBSP water
Keyword Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan Birthday Cake, Vegan Cake

Pin for later ⬇️

I’m really looking forward to seeing your remakes of this cake and how you choose to decorate it! 💜 Tag your photos with #bitofthegoodstuff on social media and they will find their way to me. You can also connect with me on my social media channels here:

With love,



Vegan Carrot Cake with ‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting

9 thoughts on “Coffee and Walnut Cake [Vegan]

    1. Hi Mary!
      Do you usually use almond milk in your cakes? If so, I think it should work fine in this cake too. I just prefer to use soya milk in my cakes as I find it froths well with the vinegar, making the cakes lighter and fluffier.
      If you do try it with almond milk, please report back. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!
      With love, Sharon xx

  1. Thanks, Sharon. Yes, I usually use almond milk, except for when I make your pancakes :). Maybe I should get some soya milk, and make the cake and pancakes.
    LOVE your recipes,

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Mary! I’m so happy to hear you’re still enjoying a Bit of the Good Stuff! ☺️

      Pancakes and cake… now that does sound like a whole lot of deliciousness! But seriously, if you don’t want to buy soya milk specifically, it’s definitely worth giving the almond milk a try. If this is what you normally use for bakes, it should be absolutely fine xx

  2. I was thinking of making this for christmas supper. Could I use all plain flour instead of the fine wholemeal flour? If I can, how much should I use?

    1. Hi Pamela.

      Yes, you can use plain flour instead of the wholemeal flour (use the same quantity).

      Are your regular cake pans still 9 inch? If so, it should be fine to bake them the same way. Just grease the sides of the pan really well and line the bottom with baking paper.

      Also, I would recommend leaving the cakes to completely cool in the pans before turning them out. Vegan cakes are very soft when first cooked, and firm up as they cool. If you’re going to flip the cakes onto a plate you want to make sure they’re nice and firm.

      I hope this helps!
      Best wishes,
      Sharon xx

    1. Hi Rainna. I’m sorry but I haven’t tried it with just wholemeal flour yet… I’m wondering whether this would make it a bit drier and/or crumblier? I always use half wholemeal flour and half plain flour, which gives the cake a lovely flavour and texture. If you do try it with just wholemeal flour, please do report back. I’d love to know how you got on xx

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