Holly Bell’s Mum’s recipe for coffee and walnut cake


Holly Bell's coffee and walnut cakeIt's our very first Mothers and Daughters event today when we'll be celebrating how those precious family bonds can shape and inspire us, building towards Mother's Day this Sunday.

We've asked some of our guests on the day to share their personal stories with us which you can read about in our Mothers and Daughters blog.

Our KitchenAid guest (and Great British Bake Off contestant) Holly Bell has gone one step further to share this scrumptious recipe for, as Holly calls it, 'killer coffee and walnut cake', which was handed down to her from her mum who inspired her to start baking. 

Coffee and Walnut Cake 

170g margarine or butter
170g caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour, sieved if you have the time  
2 tablespoons of strong black coffee (If you have a fancy coffee machine or a cafe nearby then espresso is perfect, otherwise use instant. I did.)
60g chopped walnuts

For the icing and topping
170g butter
450g icing sugar, sieved
1 tablespoon of strong black coffee
Walnuts (about 110g but as many or as few as you prefer)

How to make it 

Holly winning a baking competition1. Take the butter for the icing out of the fridge and set aside to soften. If you forget you can always use the microwave being careful not to end up with a swimming mess of molten butter, which has happened to me more times than I care to admit to.

2. Preheat the oven to Gas 4 and take 2 x 8 inch non stick cake tins and line with baking paper. 

3. Using either a handheld or freestanding electric mixer, or a wooden spoon (ouch), cream together the marg/butter and the caster sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten egg, a smidgen at a time and carry on beating. Any more than a dribble and the mixture curdles. Not to worry if it does, just add a tablespoon of flour and carry on. Continue until all the egg has mixed in.

4. Next fold in the flour and coffee using a metal spoon, being careful not to beat the air out. Lastly fold in the chopped walnuts then spoon equally into the two cake tins and spread until smoothed to the edges and level.

Holly Bell when she was little5. Pop into the middle of the oven for about 35 mins but do check after 25 if your oven is over zealous. Once cooked, remove gently from the tins and cool on a wire wrack if you have one. If not, just cool on the chopping board but open the window to minimise condensation from the cooling cake making it soggy.

6. Whilst the cake is rising, make the icing. Cream together the icing sugar, coffee and butter until light and fluffy. Then set the icing aside until the cakes have cooled.

7. Sandwich the cakes together using the butter cream icing, then spread some on the top and decorate with nuts. Don’t be tempted to put the cake together until it’s completely cold. I’ve made this mistake before and of course the butter simply melts. Ergh.

Post below your special handed down recipes… 


  1. Karen Clarke March 6, 2013 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    Whats the elec equivalent of gas 4 please??

  2. The QVC Team March 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Karen, Gas Mark 4 is the same as 350 Fahrenheit or 180 Celsius. Thanks, the QVC Team

  3. Natalie March 28, 2013 at 12:06 am -  Reply


  4. Su December 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm -  Reply

    fantastic recipe Holly. could you please tell me how to work out the equivalent of oil to butter as I have noticed that my cakes appear not only lighter but stay fresher than when I use butter. am I doing something wrong?

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