As a Melbournian who loves the food scene I have a confession – I don’t drink coffee! Really? I hear you ask, how can you live in a city that prides itself on it’s bean scene and not touch a drop? I do have my moments when I wish I was part of the cool coffee crew chatting about the best short black or strong latte but for me it’s just a flavour that I don’t like.

However, I do love the smell of fresh ground coffee and I am fascinated by the obsession people have about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to coffee quality and listen attentively when opinions are shared.  Despite my lack of love for the brew I have discovered a coffee taste that I do enjoy and it comes in the form of a cake. A delicious vintage recipe from the 1980’s when people still baked a cake for afternoon tea for visitors who popped in for a cuppa.

This recipe is a quick and easy, melt and mix style cake with a subtle hint of coffee flavour that will have you looking like the quintessential Suzy Homemaker. There are plenty of variations for this recipe and I encourage you to put your own twist to it.


125g butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda

1 large egg (lightly beaten)

1 1/2 cups self raising flour


1 cup icing sugar

1-2 tablespoons hot water

2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Combine butter, sugar, instant coffee and milk in a saucepan stir over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved and butter melts.  Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Once cooled to a warm temperature stir in soda and add lightly beaten egg.  Add sifted flour and fold through gently.

Pour mixture into a loaf tin and cook in a moderate oven, 160 degrees for 35 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly in tin then turn onto a wire rack.

Once cake has cooled top with Coffee Glaze. Place water and coffee in a bowl and allow to dissolve, add butter and icing sugar and stir until smooth.  The consistency of the icing should be that it runs off the spoon if too thick add a little more hot water, if too thin add more icing sugar. Pour glaze over the cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans.


  • Add a handful or two of chocolate pieces to the cake batter
  • Add chopped walnuts to the cake batter
  • Top with chocolate icing and sprinkle on dessicated coconut
  • Slice cake in half and fill with coffee glaze and vanilla flavoured whipped cream

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