Kate’s Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake Inspiration

As happens so often, I became inspired to make coffee cake when out and about. I tried a delicious piece of coffee cake in the Powderham Castle cafe. Straightforward cakes are easy to make and are such a treat. Cakes are made for sharing by their very nature as they cannot be kept for long and are delightfully entwined with the genteel concept of ‘Afternoon Tea’ and good conversation.

It was my Twitter friend Kate, a very experienced baker, who gave me this coffee cake recipe, made with camp coffee. I love it and it is now a cake I make quite regularly.

Making a cake is a one of the few areas of cooking where the exact quantities and proportions are required, so it is best to follow the recipe closely, at least until you are an experienced enough cook to know where you can make changes. Coffee cake is a basic cake mixture with the addition of some coffee and can contain butter icing and icing. I used Camp Coffee – on recommendation from Kate.

Camp coffee is used to give this cake its flavour – deliciously simple. It makes a delightful celebration cake, or just enjoy over a cup of tea – or coffee

Camp Coffee – Taste Of The Seventies

The thought of Camp coffee brought back a whole swathe of memories from the 1970s, when nearly everyone was trying it, in the face of rising coffee prices and the threat of a coffee shortage. Camp coffee consists of 26% chicory, 4% coffee and the rest is water and sugar. I was delighted to discover that Camp coffee originates from Glasgow and the first bottles were sold as far back as 1876. It was developed as an easy way to make coffee when the army was out in the field. It doesn’t taste exactly like coffee but has its own taste and is nowadays used in cooking, perhaps more than as a drink. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to find it especially as I usually shop in quite small supermarket – but sure enough it was on the shelves – low down and almost hidden – but it was there. If you are unable to find Camp Coffee then two dessert spoons of instant coffee mixed in a little water, will make a good substitute.

Cake Making Methods

The instructions for this cake tell you to cream the butter and sugar together first and then add the eggs. This, so the experts will tell us, makes a fluffier cake. You can if you wish, put all the ingredients in together and mix and stir – and it will work out just fine. I do use a hand held electric mixer for cakes, but a wooden spoon will produce good results – just requires a bit more muscle power! Please do comment on your methods of cake making and which you think is best.

It is important to have the oven heated to temperature before the cake goes in. And do keep an eye on the time – you do not want an over-cooked cake!! Test to see if the cake is ready after 30 minutes by sliding a skewer – or sharp knife – into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean – your cake is done. If it has a little cake mix on it – give it another few minutes.

Trim How You Like

You can have your cake plain as it is, add some icing to the top may be with some added hundreds and thousands – or some walnuts – or you can put butter icing in the middle as well. You can add some Camp coffee to the icing too to enhance the flavour.

This cake is definitley good enough to be a celebration cake such as a birthday cake and simple enough to be suitable for Sunday tea or friends round for coffee.

Kate’s Coffee Cake Recipe

For One Cake


  • 175g / 6oz butter or margarine
  • 175g / 6oz sugar
  • 175g / 6oz self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Camp coffee
    For The Butter Icing

  • 100g / 3oz butter
  • 200g / 6oz icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Camp coffee

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C

  2. Grease the cake tin or line with baking parchment

  3. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl

  4. Cream together to a smooth paste

  5. Add an egg one at a time and stir into the mixture

  6. Sieve the flour into the cake mix and beat thoroughly

  7. Add the tablespoons of Camp Coffee and stir throughly

  8. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin

  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes

  10. If not quite done give it just a couple more minutes and check again

  11. Remove from oven and leave for 3 or 4 minutes

  12. Carefully remove from tin and place on a baking rack and allow to cool completely

  13. Butter Icing

  14. Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar

  15. Don’t worry if it forms into lumps to start with – keep going and it will smooth out

  16. Cut the cake horizontally in half

  17. Spread the icing evenly over the middle

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