Cappucino Cake for a Very Special Day

In partnership with Debenhams

A gluten-free spin on one of everyone’s favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.

A gluten-free spin on one of everyone's favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.I recently had the pleasure of baking for a wedding between two very special people, and their honoured guest.

Of course almost all weddings are special and wonderful occasions (and this one was personally very special as my wonderful husband had the honour of conducting the service). But this one by its very nature was one I will never forget.

It was a wedding that would not have taken place without the Anthony Nolan donor register, the world’s first register to match bone marrow donors with people in need.

The honoured guest was the bride’s 28 year-old bone marrow donor.

A gluten-free spin on one of everyone's favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.

phone snap of one of the practise cakes

Our friend, an incredibly beautiful, young, vibrant woman (her döppelganger is Winona Ryder), had her life saved six years ago by a stranger. Someone who is now like a brother. He was only 21 or so when he put his name down. And didn’t hesitate when he was contacted shortly afterwards.

For understandable reasons information between donor and recipient is confidential, however through the power of Facebook they were able to connect. Over a year they had a kind of sneaky correspondence, and it only seemed natural for him to be invited to the wedding. Again, no hesitation.

There was however an added frisson: The wedding was the first time that the bride’s grateful parents had met their daughter’s donor. And as the bride and shy young hero were guided to her parents after the ceremony, and into the splendid autumnal garden of the Scottish baronial castle, many of us spontaneously burst into tears. I do not do crying, but I was probably the first one to do so on this day. These parents, who had been through every parent’s nightmare, witnessed their beloved daughter marry the man she loved, and met the selfless man who made it possible.

It was without a doubt the most moving experience outside of my own wedding and the birth of my daughter. Andrew and I will never forget it.

For the shindig afterwards, I was one of seven chosen “cake ladies” tasked with giving a sugar hit to the assembled party. As the weeks grew closer the chatter on our WhatsApp group grew more excited, with snaps of practise cakes, funky cake stands, natural decorating ideas, and all the baking things that I really know nothing about. I was really nervous too, as at least one of the ladies was quite pro at baking. Literally a pro. She helps run a very well-regarded collection of organic bakeries and coffee shops in Edinburgh, and I have long been in awe of her Instagrammed confections. But I needn’t have worried. We all brought cakes made with love.

This is one of the two I brought. The other was my Fig, Orange and Walnut Polenta Cake, decorated on the day with round slices of fresh black figs and wheels of thinly sliced oranges. Although they were for the wedding, these cakes are simple enough for a leisurely and unstressed (unlike myself the day before the wedding!) go at in your own kitchen. tala baking equipment from debenhams

I was pleased to be able to make this cake with the help of my rather nifty Tala flexible spatula. The kind folk at Debenhams sent me a massive box (2 kg!) of Tala baking essentials – a few of which are shown above. Right now there is a big mid-season sale on in their kitchenware department, so bargains to be had! The flexible spatula is my favourite in the parcel. Although as you can see, my spreading and decorating skills need a lot of work! Luckily the images you see are of the practise cake.

I find cakes need a lot of practise. Do you?😉

A gluten-free spin on one of everyone's favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.

Cappucino Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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A gluten-free spin on one of everyone’s favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.

To make as 12 cupcakes, halve the entire recipe and bake for 20 minutes. xx

adapted from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood

The Cake

4 medium organic eggs, room temp

300g unrefined caster sugar

400g peeled and finely grated (I used coarse hole and it was fine) sweet potato

200g white rice flour, teff flour or plain flour

200g finely ground walnuts (I toasted and ground walnut pieces into flour in my Optimum 9400 Froothie) or almonds

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp Camp coffee essence or other coffee essence (Camp is the best choice)

The Icing

100g unsalted butter cubed and at cool room temp

400g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar, sifted of lumps

100g marscapone (I used fat-reduced)

4 tsp coffee essence

+ chocolate covered coffee beans and ground coffee for decoration

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C Fan/ 180C/350F. Butter or oil-spray 2 x 20cm cake tins (sometimes called sandwich tins) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl/stand mixer for about five minutes, until tripled in volume and very pale. Fold in the grated sweet potato, the flour, walnuts/almonds, baking powder, salt and coffee essence until well incorporated. You will lose much of the volume, but don’t worry.

3. Divide the batter equally between the two lined tins and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The cakes will look quite flat rather than domed, but that’s how they are supposed to be.🙂

4. While the cakes are baking, and the aroma is driving you mad with hunger, make the frosting by beating the sugar with electric beaters or in a stand mixer, until pale and fluffy. Add half of the sugar and all of the coffee essence and whisk in slowly to make a paste. Add the marscapone and remaining sugar, mixing thoroughly by hand with a wooden spoon. Keep cool.A gluten-free spin on one of everyone's favourite cakes, Coffee and Walnut. As well as rice flour and walnuts, sweet potato is included for extra moistness and sweetness. Top with the silky marscapone frosting (I dare you not to eat at least half while the cake bakes!) or leave naked for an Espresso version.

5. When the cakes are ready, remove them from the oven and cool on a rack until they have lost their warmth, or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Carefully turn out from the tins and frost both tops, sandwiching them together and decorating how you wish. This cake keeps very well for several days in an airtight refrigerated tin. Or, you could keep the unfrosted cake in a container at cool room temperature until you wish to eat it. The sweet potato will, like carrot in carrot cake, keep keep the cake incredibly moist and delicious for longer than the equivalent non-veg added coffee and walnut cake.

Thank you Debenhams for the fantastic baking equipment. I feel like I could start a bakery!

*This is a paid, commissioned recipe in collaboration with Debenhams and contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to continue creating and sharing recipes on food to glow.*