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Who doesn’t love the absolute classic combination of a Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake and a nice cuppa?

I spent many years trying to perfect this coffee cake and I’ve managed to create the perfect combination of rich coffee and sweet buttercream.

Made with buttermilk, this gluten free coffee and walnut cake is so light and fluffy – not dense or dry in the slightest.

The walnut pieces add a lovely crunch and it’s topped with a creamy, coffee buttercream which is just dreamy.

I love a coffee and walnut cake as part of an afternoon tea spread and it’s also my Dad’s favourite cake, so I make it for him whenever I can!

gluten free coffee and walnut cake
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How do you keep a gluten free cake moist?

Gluten free cakes can have a bit of a bad rep for being dry but I’ve discovered the secret with this coffee and walnut cake.

And that secret is something so simple – adding buttermilk!

Because after making my my gluten free chocolate cake recipe with buttermilk, it quite simply turned my world upside-down. In the best way.

Because adding buttermilk to my cakes was making them come out with a texture that was moist yet still really light. It was an absolute revelation!

Which is what makes this gluten free coffee and walnut cake recipe so extra special.

Can’t find buttermilk? You can simply make your own by adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the 110ml milk needed in this recipe.

Stir and leave for a couple of minutes and you’ll have your own buttermilk.


An easy coffee and walnut cake recipe

This is a basic shove-everything-in-a-bowl-and-mix gluten free cake recipe. The best kind!

I like my gluten free cake recipes to be super easy and user-friendly, no fancy ingredients or complicated methods over here.

A few things to note: firstly, I used shots of Nespresso to make my cake.

I also made sure it was decaf because I didn’t want to be up all night after late-night cake-munching sessions!

However, you could easily use instant coffee dissolved in boiling water.

That way you can make the coffee flavour as strong as you like! I’d recommend around 3 tbsp of instant coffee dissolved in 100ml of water. 

I also used walnut halves in my cake – which I chopped for the sponge but left as they were to decorate. There’s really no right or wrong way though.

If you prefer, you could used chopped walnuts to decorate, and likewise you could leave them more chunky in the mix.

I just prefer a combination of the two as I think they look so pretty on top like this.



There’s a full printable recipe card below, but here’s a list of the main ingredients you’ll need for this gluten free coffee walnut cake.

I’ve also included ideas for any substitutions if you want to mix it up or have other dietary requirements to think of.

  • Caster Sugar: I used golden caster sugar in this recipe but you can use standard caster sugar too. In the US you’ll need baker’s or superfine sugar.
  • Unsalted Butter: You’ll need this softened for the cake, and at room temperature for the icing. For a dairy free alternative, use Stork Baking Block or a vegan margarine.
  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have any, you can mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with the 110ml milk (or dairy free milk) to make your own.
  • Eggs: I always use large, UK eggs in my baking as standard.
  • Coffee: The best coffee cake for me comes from using espresso. I use my Nespresso machine or you could even buy a double shot of coffee from a coffee shop. Failing that, mix approx 3 tbsp per 100ml of boiling water for a strong coffee to add.
  • Self-Raising Gluten Free Flour: I use any standard self-raising gluten free flour mix I can find. If you only have lan flour, add 1 tsp gluten free baking powder per 100g of gluten free plain or all purpose flour.
  • Walnuts: I use walnut halves and roughly chop them. You can omit these if you don’t like them and just have it as a coffee cake.
Gluten free coffee and walnut cake

My gluten free coffee and walnut cake recipe

Here it is – my easy peasy gluten free coffee and walnut cake recipe! It’s my gluten free twist on this classic recipe and I really hope you enjoy it!

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. I love seeing your creations!

And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.

Gluten free coffee and walnut cake
Yield: 10

Gluten free coffee and walnut cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

An easy gluten free coffee and walnut cake recipe using buttermilk, with a buttercream frosting.


  • 230 g golden caster sugar
  • 175 g unsalted butter, (softened)
  • 110 ml buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 60 ml coffee, *see notes
  • 200 g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 50 g walnut halves, (roughly chopped)

For the icing:

  • 150 g unsalted butter, (room temperature)
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 30 ml coffee
  • walnut halves, (to decorate)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180'C/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm round baking tins and set aside while you make the cake batter.
  2. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, coffee and buttermilk to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes. Don't worry if it separates a little - it'll come together in the next step!
  3. Sift in the flour and xanthan gum and beat again until smooth. Add the chopped walnuts and fold in. Pour the cake batter evenly between the two tins, smooth the tops and bake in the oven for approx 25-30 minutes. They're ready when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  4. Place the cake tins on a cooling rack for approx 10 mins, then turn out the cakes and remove the paper. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack before decorating.

To decorate:

  1. Beat the butter, icing sugar and coffee in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Slather half on top of one of the cakes, then sandwich the second cake gently on top. Spread the rest of the buttercream evenly over the second cake and then decorate with the walnut halves.


  • For the coffee I used 3 x Nespresso shots which were 20ml each. You can also make the coffee up to your own strength - I'd recommend approx 3 tbsp per 100ml of boiling water.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

10 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 286mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 5g

Need some more baking inspiration?

If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free baking recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try?

They’re perfect for making alongside this Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake for a gluten free afternoon tea.

If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. 

And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!

Like this Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake recipe?

Make sure you pin these recipe cards below for later!

gluten free coffee and walnut cake
gluten free coffee and walnut cake

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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