Monday, September 16, 2013

Coffee and Walnut Birthday Cake

On her birthday I think a girl should be allowed to choose what she does and what she eats. Now I’m the not the sort of girl who needs lots of pressies and wants to be wined and dined in expensive restaurants, but food is an important part of my special day. With Ade at home this year (a rare occurrence) I was allowed a lie-in this morning, which was a real treat and then my breakfast of choice was a croissant from our village boulangerie with a nice espresso coffee, delicious. The morning was spent harvesting tomatoes that were roasted and puréed, so that was the tomato sauce for tonight’s pizza sorted. Then I set to making a birthday cake. I love baking, so although it may not be traditional to bake your own cake I was happy. Lunch was a tomato salad, quiche and griddled courgettes (zucchini) topped with a zingy walnut, ginger and chilli topping - a birthday is not a birthday without home grown courgettes. There was even time for Ade and I to get out for a bike ride this afternoon before getting the pizza dough ready. By the time Ed was home from school we were all set to pour the bubbles, open my pressies and cards as a family and tuck into our pizzas. A simple day, but a perfect one.

French Village Diaries Google Doodle birthday
My very own Google doodle
Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday, either in person, by post or online, I feel very loved today. Even Google had remembered it was my birthday and gave me my own Google Doodle (that was a bit odd). Although I can’t share a piece of cake with you all, I can share the recipe for my (healthy) Coffee and Walnut cake, which I hope you will enjoy.

French Village Diaries Coffee and Walnut Fat Free sponge cake birthday recipe
Please help yourselves to a slice
3 large free-range eggs
65g castor sugar
110g plain flour
1 tbsp natural yoghurt 
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp of expresso coffee
A few drops of vanilla essence
I tbsp of walnut oil

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/180 c

Line sandwich cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Whisk the eggs and castor sugar for 5 minutes until the mixture is very light and frothy (this is very important). Add the yoghurt, coffee, walnut oil and vanilla essence.

Sieve the dry ingredients and fold in very gently trying to keep in as much of the air as possible.

Pour into the cake tins and bake until golden and springy to touch, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

When cool turn onto a plate, sandwich with a light coloured jam and some of the buttercream icing and then cover with the remaining buttercream (softened butter, icing sugar and a few teaspoons of espresso coffee) and decorate with walnut halves. 

As this is a variation of my Fat Free cake, the lack of butter in the sponge means this cake will go dry within a few days, but as it doesn't last that long in our house I don't find it a problem.


  1. Happy Birthday! For yesterday & for the year ahead!

    Today I am making cake for Isabella (eldest daughter) unfortunately she ONLY wants victoria sponge with raspberry jam, creme fraiche and chocolate icing (I have my instructions!) however I wonder if I could make us a coffee & walnut one TOO as much tastier!

    1. Hope Isabella has a lovely birthday. Don't forget you can never have too many cakes!

  2. Hello Jacqueline! This is Muriel, the self proclaimed French Yummy Mummy in London. I love your blog and I wish you a happy birthday!
    I am a bit jealous too: you seem happy in France, my home country. As for me, I am much happier in London. What is wrong with me?

    1. Thanks Muriel, it is funny how we have swapped countries. I do love London and an occasional visit, but I could never live there.

  3. A bit late but Happy Birthday to you dear Jacqueline.


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