Old Fashioned Coffee Cake


My earliest cake memories are of Coffee Cake. I don’t remember Mam ever baking them – we ate Peggy Ryan’s amazing home baked coffee cake slabs, bought in her brilliant and unfortunately now closed Home Baking shop in New Ross. Mam would arrive home with the white bakery box of chocolate and cream slice, basic sponge, jam and cream slice and my all time favourite, the coffee slice.  I love everything about it. I will always order it in tea shops, ignoring Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Fudge and lemon drizzle if there is coffee cake. But I am living in a family of Coffee Cake haters – yes – they do exist. So if I bake a coffee cake, I eat it all. By myself. Sometimes over days but often far too quickly to be healthy. So this is a brilliant discovery – I’ve adapted it from Mary Berry’s coffee cake baked in a roasting tin, all ingredients are simply lobbed in a bowl and mixed, cooked in 35 minutes, cooled and iced with very little effort. I don’t add the Walnuts she has as I always think it makes the cake a little heavy. And it can be sliced and transported to school bake sales, staff rooms of cake needing teachers & coffee mornings easily. Everyone gets a taste, no-one feels sick of coffee cake! It also calls for coffee essence (no trendy expresso cooled or fresh ground coffee here) so I get to use “Irel” – a chicory flavoured coffee essence that was used in place of coffee in times of yore to be mixed Bovril style to make a hot drink. It adds an almost caramel toffee flavour to the already wonderful coffee. Whats not to love here!



  • 225g (8oz) soft butter
  • 225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 285g (10oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp coffee essence

For the icing

  • 85g (3oz) soft butter
  • 225g (8oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp coffee essence
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.


  • Place all the cake ingredients in a bowl and mix together until smooth.


  • Line a roasting tin with parchment paper and scrape the coffee batter in.

line the traymixture2

  • Bake in the oven for 35 / 38 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  • Prepare the icing by mixing all icing ingredients in a bowl. WHIP WHIP WHIP the icing – it should be light and fluffy, and will be if you whip for at least 5 minutes. Spread over the coffee slab.


  • Slice and serve!

iced & cut in the tin




  1. I love coffee cake, but I have to think of something else to call it because here in the US coffee cake is not a cake flavored with coffee but a cake made to be eaten with coffee (sort of a breakfast item, really). It might be a buttery vanilla cake with a streusel topping, or it can be a yeast dough like one I made the other day with Danish pastry-type dough.


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