300g Butter, room temperature, and extra for greasing
100g Walnut halves
275g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs, lightly beaten
175g Self-Raising Flour
⅟4 teaspoon Salt
Oil for greasing
174g Icing Sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon instant Coffee dissolved in 1½ tablespoons boiling water and left to cool
- Heat the oven to 180˚C.
- Butter and line two 20cm cake tins.
- Line a grill rack with the walnut halves in a single layer.
- Toast under medium heat until they just start to brown, turning once.
- Cool and then finely grind half of the walnuts in a food processor.
- Beat 225g butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
- Put the flour, salt and ground walnuts in a sieve and sift half of this over the egg mixture.
- Fold in with a metal spoon and repeat.
- Divide between the two tins and smooth the surfaces.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Cool in the tins for only a minute and then turn out on baking sheet.
- Peel off the paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool down.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet and the prongs of 2 forks.
- Put the remaining caster sugar and 50ml water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then boil until it turns a rich caramel colour.
- Don’t stir but swirl the caramel in the pan to colour in evenly.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the reserved walnut halves and immediately remove from the heat and pour the nuts on to the oiled baking sheet.
- Working quickly but without touching the hot walnuts, use the forks the separate out 8 halves so they don’t set in a lump.
- Smooth out the remaining walnuts as much as you can and leave to cool until crisp.
- Put all but the 8 reserved halves into a food processor and process until they are just crushed. Set the walnut praline aside.
- To make the buttercream, place the remaining butter and a bowl and cream until it is soft.
- Gradually sift in the icing sugar, beating until creamy.
- Stir in the coffee and beat until fluffy.
- Sandwich the two sponges with half the buttercream and press together lightly.
- Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sprinkle with the walnut praline.
- Arrange the reserved caramel-coated walnut halves in a ring in the centre.
- Transfer the cake to a serving plate.