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Vegan Coffee And Walnut Cake

This vegan coffee and walnut cake is a flavourful sheet cake topped with a rich, decadent, dairy-free cream cheese frosting. It makes for a delicious mid-morning pick-me-up and tastes great with a cup of tea or coffee.

Coffee Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting And Walnuts On Top

Looking for a coffee walnut cake that’s actually flavoured with coffee? You’ve come to the right place!

A lot of the time, when searching for coffee cake recipes, what I find are cakes that are not actually coffee flavoured, they are just supposed to be good for eating alongside a cup of coffee.

When I’m looking for a coffee cake, I want it to contain actual coffee (or, at least the flavour of it, before the coffee lovers come at me for using instant coffee LOL).

So that’s exactly what I made this week! I threw a few chopped walnuts in there for added texture and added a thick layer of dairy-free cream cheese frosting on top too.

I have to admit, I do only like coffee when it’s mixed with sugar in desserts. Otherwise it’s just too bitter and intense for my fragile little, caffeine-hating body. So this cake doesn’t have a super strong coffee flavour.

It’s definitely there but if you’re used to drinking straight black coffee, you might need to add a little more to satisfy your taste buds.

This cake is very similar to the coffee sandwich cake I made last year. This time, I just added some walnuts to the batter (and used some more on top for decoration) and baked it in a sheet pan instead.

I don’t know if it’s just me but I find sheet cakes SO much easier to bake and decorate than a traditional layer cake. It feels a lot more homely and rustic rather than having to make sure it looks perfect and presentable.

Plus, you get more bang for your buck with a sheet cake. I feel like it can give much more servings, or perhaps just bigger slices!

More sheet cake recipes

Slices Of Cake On A Wooden Board

How to make vegan coffee and walnut cake

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Or if you’re using a fan or convection oven, set it to 160°C/325°F instead.

Line an 8×10-inch tin with baking paper.

Step 2:

Mix 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules with 3 tablespoons of boiling water and leave it to cool completely. If you want a stronger flavour, use 3 tablespoons of coffee mixed with 3 tablespoons of water instead.

Step 3:

In a large bowl, mix together 230g of self-raising flour 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda and 180g of caster sugar.

Step 4:

Next, the wet ingredients!

Add 240ml of soy milk to the bowl, along with the cooled coffee, 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.

I used apple cider vinegar but white vinegar or lemon juice will work too. We just need the acid to help the cake to rise!

Give everything a good mix until you have smooth cake batter.

Step 5:

Add 100g of chopped walnuts to the batter and fold them in gently. Pour the batter into your lined tin and spread it out evenly.

Cake Batter In A Bowl

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the tin, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Peel the baking paper off the bottom and leave the cake to cool completely.

Baked Cake In Tin

Step 6:

While the cake is cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, mix together 50g of vegan cream cheese, 30g of vegan butter (the block kind is best) and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

When that’s smooth, mix in 150g of icing sugar, a little bit at a time. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to whisk it up for a few minutes until it becomes glossy.

Place your frosting in the fridge for 1 hour to help it stiffen a bit, otherwise it may run down your cake. Vegan cream cheese frosting is a little more fragile than the traditional kind!

Step 7:

Spread the frosting over your cooled cake using a spatula or palette knife. Top with some more chopped walnuts and cut into 12 equal-sized slices. And enjoy!

Top tips

  • Let the coffee cool completely before adding it to your cake batter. If it’s still hot when you add it, you’ll end up cooking the flour.
  • Use a neutral tasting oil such as sunflower or rapeseed for best results. Stronger oils such as olive or coconut can interfere with the coffee flavour.
  • Let the cream cheese frosting chill in the fridge for 1 hour before spreading it onto the cake. This will prevent it from sliding off.


What type of coffee is best to use?

I used M&S gold instant coffee granules but any instant coffee will do for this recipe. Make sure to mix it with boiling water then leave it to cool before adding it to your cake batter.

What can I use instead of soy milk?

I use unsweetened, organic soy milk for almost all of my cake recipes as it gives the best results but I understand that some people are allergic and others simply want to avoid soy. In this case, you could use an equal amount of oat or almond milk. I would advise against using coconut or rice milk as these have not given me good results when testing similar recipes.

Can this cake be baked in a round cake tin?

Yes! This batter will make enough for 2 small round cake layers, using 7-inch tins. You’ll only need to bake them for around 15-20 minutes (at the same temperature) because they’re a bit thinner.

How should I store vegan coffee and walnut cake?

It’s best kept in an airtight container and stored in the fridge. The cream cheese frosting needs to be kept refrigerated to stay firm.

Can I freeze it?

Yes. This cake freezes very well. You can put the slices in airtight containers and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, transfer the slices onto a plate or wire rack and let them sit at room temperature for an hour or so until fully thawed.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Use the image below to pin for later and if you give it a go, please let me know what you think by leaving a rating and comment below. Happy baking! xo

Pinterest Pin of a slice of coffee walnut cake
Thumbnail Image Of Vegan Coffee And Walnut Cake Slices
5 from 3 votes

Vegan Coffee and Walnut Cake

Fluffy coffee flavoured sheet cake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting.

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan coffee and walnut cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 334 kcal


  • 2 Tablespoons Instant coffee granules (This gives the cake a subtle coffee flavour. Use 3 tablespoons if you like a stronger flavour)
  • 230 g Self-raising flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking soda
  • 180 g Caster sugar
  • 240 ml Soy milk (sub for oat or almond milk)
  • 6 Tablespoons Oil (I recommend rapeseed or sunflower)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar (sub for white vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 100 g Chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 50 g Vegan cream cheese
  • 30 g Vegan butter (the block style is best)
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 150 g Icing sugar

To top:

  • 2 -3 Tablespoons Chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you're using a fan or convection oven). Line an 8×10-inch tin with baking paper.

  2. Mix the coffee granules with 3 tablespoons of boiling water, then set aside to cool.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar.

  4. Add the soy milk to the bowl, along with the cooled coffee, oil, vanilla extract and vinegar. Mix well to make a smooth cake batter, making sure to get any dry bits from the bottom of the bowl.

  5. Add the chopped walnuts and gently fold them in. Pour the batter into your tin and spread it around evenly.

  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and leave to cool completely.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  1. Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

  2. Mix in the icing sugar, a little at a time. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to whisk for a few minutes until glossy.

  3. Chill the frosting in the fridge for 1 hour before using it, to help it stay firm.

  4. Once chilled, spread the icing over your cooled cake and top with walnut pieces. Cut into 12 pieces and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Coffee and Walnut Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Sodium 71mg3%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 3g6%
* All values are an estimate only and will vary depending on the food brands used.
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Recipe Rating

Heather Smith Thomassen

Thursday 24th of August 2023

You give baking powder as an ingredient and then speak about baking soda in Step 3. Is this a typo or.......?


Thursday 24th of August 2023

Hi Heather, it should say baking soda. I have updated the recipe- thanks for letting me know!


Monday 14th of November 2022

What block vegan butter do you use? I have never seen any in the uk supermarkets. I can only find soft dairy free margarine in tubs


Monday 14th of November 2022

Hi Anne. I use Stork baking block or Flora plant butter. I do my shopping at Tesco but I think the other supermarkets sell them too. Check near the dairy butters rather than in the vegan section and you should see them :)

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