Coffee, Chocolate and Walnut Bundt Cake with Tia-Maria Syrup

coffe cake.jpg“Bing” sounded my phone, the familiar text message alert: “Do you have a recipe for a coffee flavored bundt cake?” For a minute I thought of immediately answering “of course!” as if there was no doubt in my mind that, somewhere in my recipe archives, there MUST be a coffee flavored bundt cake. But then I realized – almost in horror – that I don’t have one! I have tried, tested and written about coffee flavored layered cakes, coffee flavored tiramisu cakes, coffee flavored chocolate mousse but not a single coffee bundt cake. So I thought, “here’s a project for a boring Tuesday”.

Coffee for me means chocolate cake, so I started from there. I added some walnuts as I think they work so well with both the coffee and chocolate. But what really takes this bundt cake to a different level is a generous brushing of a delicious, boozy, naughty “Tia Maria” syrup. I darkened the syrup with a teaspoon of cocoa powder to make the cake look more dramatic, as if it’s a “black-tie” dinner cake.

“Bing” sounded my phone again. “What’s quite upsetting, is the fact I baked a coffee cake with cupfuls of almonds that I had to blanch and peel myself, and no one liked it in my house!” I suddenly felt proud. “Well, here’s something to keep you busy next Tuesday afternoon”, I typed as I e-mailed the recipe “and not a blanched almond in sight”.

coffee cake 2.jpg

For the syrup

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup Tia-Maria or other coffee flavored liqueur

Ingredients for the cake

  • 4 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbs instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, very roughly chopped


Make the syrup by putting the sugar, water and cocoa powder in a small saucepan, over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar as much as you can and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add the Tia-Maria. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 175 C. Butter and flour a 23 cm cake pan with a hole in the middle.

In a small bowl mix together the cocoa powder, coffee granules, vanilla extract and hot water. Stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater. Beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (at least 30 seconds). Add cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.

Sift together flour with baking powder and salt. Add this mixture to the mixer bowl. Mix briefly to incorporate. Add walnuts and beat briefly again.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. As soon as cake comes out of the oven, while it’s still in the pan, brush syrup all over the surface. Leave cake to rest for 10 minutes then invert on a serving platter. Brush the remaining syrup on the entire surface of the cake. Keep brushing until you finish the syrup.

Cool cake completely, before slicing and serving.

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