Coffee Walnut Cupcakes made with a perfectly light gluten free sponge and topped with a rich and creamy coffee buttercream. Optional dairy free.
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DON’T LOSE THIS RECIPE! PIN Coffee Walnut Cupcakes FOR LATER…
COFFEE WALNUT CUPCAKES – A FAVOURITE TEA TIME TREAT IN MINI FORM
These gorgeous coffee walnut cupcakes are a mini version of one of my most popular cakes. But although I have a beautiful large Coffee Walnut Cake on Gluten Free Alchemist, sometimes life calls for cupcakes.
Recently, I’ve been in a cupcake mood. Although large slices of cake are utterly delicious, there’s something quite stunning about a perfectly formed cupcake. Who can resist a pretty morsel, gorgeously iced and decorated to impress?
The UK’s favourite cakes
Coffee and walnut cake has of course, long been a national favourite. In 2018, a survey reported in the Independent, placed it at number 8 in the British cake charts. And with such high rankings, it’s more than time it had its own gluten free coffee walnut cupcake place on the blog.
If coffee walnut cake is at number 8 though, what other iconic treats were in the list? And which others have we already de-glutened on Gluten Free Alchemist?
Top 20 List
- Lemon Drizzle Cake (possibly need a straight lemon version, but we do have a lush Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake; A divine pink Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle loaf cake (that was made for Breast Cancer Awareness); and a Zesty Drizzled Lemon Cake with Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Chocolate Fudge Cake (✔️✔️)
- Carrot Cake (✔️✔️) + a Carrot Sheet Cake as well.
- Chocolate Brownie…. (✔️✔️) Take your pick, but one of my favourites are these Coffee Brownies
- Victoria Sponge (✔️✔️)
- Chocolate Muffin – We have a sumptuous Chocolate Banana Muffins and epic Chocolate Cupcakes
- Sticky Toffee Pudding (clearly one I need) 🤔
- Coffee Walnut Cake (✔️✔️) and now these yummy Coffee Walnut Cupcakes too.
- Black Forest Gateau (✔️✔️) – Mr GF’s favourite… and also a Black Forest Trifle.
- Blueberry Muffin… Need to sort this one!
- Fruit Cake 😁 – We do have an amazing and very popular Christmas Cake.
- Swiss Roll (✔️✔️)
- Battenberg (✔️✔️)… Not only do we have a traditional version, we also have a rather superb Chocolate-Cherry Battenberg Cake as well.
- Madeira Cake…. Not yet! 😮
- Fairy Cakes… Isn’t that just a Cupcake with a British name?
- Angel Cakes – So there are two types of Angel cake… A three layered, three coloured version (which I suspect the survey refers to), but is yet to make an appearance on Gluten Free Alchemist. And one of my all-time favourites from my childhood… A pure white Angel Food Cake using egg whites.
- Butterfly Cakes… Isn’t that just a fairy cake or a cupcake with wings???
- Chelsea Buns – To. Die. For! Along with some divine traditional Hot Cross Buns.
- Red Velvet Cake – There is a Valentine version which is naturally coloured, but as yet no full on Cochineal food coloured option.
- Date and Walnut Loaf… They’ve got me on this one too. I’ll work on it 😬 x
Seems we’re not doing too bad though!
Coffee Walnut Cupcakes vs Fairy Cakes vs Muffins
That’s a pretty epic list of the nation’s favourite cakes. I wonder how it would compare with the USA? Another check for the ‘to do’ list.
But the list has also got me thinking… Is there any difference between cupcakes, fairy cakes and muffins? Or is it just geographical semantics?
According to the Hummingbird Bakery, the difference between a cupcake and a fairy cake is size… And cupcakes also tend to have more elaborate toppings with swirls of buttercream as well as sprinkles and drizzles. They also come in every possible flavour, while fairy cakes tend to be a simple vanilla (or chocolate) sponge and often have ‘butterfly’ fairy wings cut from the top or are decorated with a basic water-icing.
So what about muffins?
According to Nigella.com, this is where process becomes relevant. Cupcakes and fairy cakes largely follow the creamed method of mixing. Muffins on the other hand are usually made (apparently) by mixing dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients before combining them together. They also tend to have a larger ratio of liquids such as milk and yoghurt and less egg… Which makes them a little more dense, but also more suitable to savoury as well as sweet options.
Taking the given wisdom into account then, it seems these gorgeous babies are indeed correctly named… We have ourselves some gluten free Coffee Walnut Cupcakes!
What’s the secret to making the BEST coffee walnut cupcakes?
There are lots of coffee walnut cakes on the internet, but I reckon these gluten free coffee walnut cupcakes are up there with the best. Why? Because they are intense with the dark and slightly bitter tang of coffee, rich with a generous offering of earthy walnut and (despite being gluten free) are perfectly light and stay fresh for several days. So what’s the secret?
- Use instant espresso powder. I can’t stress enough how important this is to good flavour! Espresso powder (MUST be instant and soluble) is rich and deep and dark… It has an intensity that can’t be matched.
- Always toast the walnuts before grinding. For the best coffee walnut cupcakes, you want the walnuts to shine. Toasting (or roasting) the walnuts intensifies the flavour, enriching its nutty, earthy qualities. The ground walnut will also bring moisture and structure to the cake, supporting texture and shelf-life.
- Beat the mixture well and fold lightly. This will ensure plenty of air and lightness of crumb.
- For an extra moist sponge, adding a little yoghurt matters. It offers a richness to the batter which gives decadence to the bake and ensures the cakes remains moist until they are all gone.
Can I make Coffee Walnut Cupcakes Dairy Free and Vegan?
These Coffee Walnut Cupcakes can certainly be made dairy free. Simply substitute any butter, yoghurt and milk in the recipe for a mild-flavoured and creamy dairy free alternative.
Sorry though. This recipe is not Vegan. It contains eggs which support its incredible lightness and structure. I have never tried making it without the eggs. If however you are a skilled vegan cake converter and manage to successfully recreate in plant-based form, do let me know.
How long do these cupcakes last?
These Coffee Walnut Cupcakes will last for several days at room temperature in an airtight container. If anything, the texture improves after a day, which is another bonus. Anyone who eats gluten free on a regular basis will know that getting a cake recipe which stays fresh, soft, moist and light beyond a few hours is a keeper!
Love these gluten free Coffee Walnut Cupcakes?
So here it is. An epic recipe for the BEST gluten free Coffee Walnut Cupcakes. If you make them, let me know. I’d love if you leave a comment and rate the recipe too. That way the Google ‘God’ will (hopefully) notice it’s a great recipe and more people will get to enjoy it. For the same reasons, please share with anyone you think would like them.
For lots of other inspiration (sweet and savoury), why not explore our gluten free Recipe Index too? It’s sure to tempt you… Happy Baking
Coffee and Walnut Cake Cupcakes – Gluten Free
- cupcake tray and large cupcake cases
- grinder/food processor
- 55 g walnut halves/pieces – toasted and ground toasted weight
- 150 g plain GF flour blend eg. Gluten Free Alchemist Mix A see NOTES
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- 1¾ tsp GF baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch tsp fine sea salt
- 170 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative softened
- 170 g soft light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs (UK large)
- 3 to 4 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
- 3 to 4 tbsp plain yoghurt (dairy or dairy free)
Coffee Butter Icing/Frosting
- ¾ tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
- 2 tsp boiling water
- 160 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 320 g icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- pinch fine sea salt
- ½ tbsp (approx) milk for consistency only (DF if needed)
- 1½ tbsp ground toasted walnuts
- handful chocolate-espresso beans optional
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder (approx) optional
- Toast all the walnuts (if not already toasted), including a few extra for decoration by spreading on a baking sheet and placing in a pre-heated oven at 190 C/375 F/Gas 5 for about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times during the process to make sure they are evenly toasted. Leave to cool.
- Once cool, grind the walnuts in a grinder/food processor so that they have the texture of coarse sand (watch closely to make sure they do not grind too far and end up as a paste)
- Weigh and whisk together the ground walnuts (55g ground weight), flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt, making sure all lumps are broken down. TIP : weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside.
- Prepare a 12 hole cupcake tin by lining with cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork to combine. Gradually add to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
- Add the espresso powder and yoghurt and beat again until even in colour.
- Carefully fold in the dry ingredients until evenly combined (but be careful not to over-mix).
- Split the cake batter equally between the cupcake cases and level the tops.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden, the tops spring back to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Slowly mix together the espresso powder and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Beat the butter until soft and pale.
- Gradually add the icing sugar (a little at a time), espresso mixture and the salt. The frosting should be well blended and a smooth pipeable consistency. Add a little milk if the consistency needs to be loosened.
- Using a piping bag and your nozzle of choice, pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake.
- Decorate with sprinkles of the reserved toasted ground walnuts, the chocolate-espresso beans and a light dusting of instant espresso powder.
- Store in an airtight cake tin/carrier at room temperature.
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