in the kitchen with: coffee-flavoured cake

My former boss was from Adelaide, and she looovveed to cook, bake and try new restaurants. She knew I did, too, so she always shared typical Australian things with me, like the Green and Gold Cookery Book, or the book that this week’s recipe came from, the South Australian Country Women’s Association Calendar of Cakes: A Cake a Day for 365 Days. And I shared things with her, like Junior League Cookbooks from regions of the US with very typical cuisines (like New England, the West, Texas, the South). We had a bit of a recipe swap going on when she was my boss.

This week’s recipe is a bit of a cheat because it is the recipe for November 4th, instead of the November 11th recipe; however, the November 11th recipe required a cup of yeast, and I don’t know where to get that. So we must thank Mrs. S. A. Kelly from Port Victoria in South Australia for her Coffee-Flavoured Cake contribution to the Calendar of Cakes. The original recipe, which I’ve copied below, calls for this to be made in layers and then filled with whatever icing/cream you’d like, and I can think of TONS of things — like a wonderful chocolate whipped cream or something hazelnut-ty — that would be divine with this. However, I went the simple route and made individual 3 oz. cakes because I can easily freeze them.

If you’ve read my book reviews at, you know that I love old community-sourced cookbooks for what they tell us about the time periods when the recipes were produced. I love learning about great ones, so if you know of a school, church, junior league or any other community-sourced cookbook that you’d passionately recommend, leave me a tip! — Kristina

Read the full post after the jump!


Coffee-Flavoured Cake


  • 4 oz butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 good tablespoons treacle (or molasses)
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (or make your own with 1.5 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of all-purpose flour)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup strong coffee



1. Cream butter and sugar, and add eggs one at a time. Beat well, and add treacle.

2. Fold in thoroughly sifted dry ingredients alternately with black coffee.

3. Fill two greased 8-inch sandwich tins (regular round cake pans).

4. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 to 30 minutes (I did it at 350ºF/180ºC). Leave in tins for a while.

5. When cool, fill and ice as desired.

— MRS S. A. KELLY (Port Victoria)

Photography by Kristina Gill; cake wrappers from Wheel & Barrow; linen from Merci

  1. so excited to try this recipe and to check out some of those cookbooks too! thanks for the inspiration! have a wonderful weekend!

    xo, juliette

  2. Wow, this looks amazing! The perfect thing to bake for our in-laws visiting over Thanksgiving! Xo, Katie

  3. Anybody know a good US source for liners like those? I feel as if I *need* them…

  4. anything coffee flavored is a must try for me. i would love to know where those liners are from as well!

  5. Nicole says:

    AIEEE! coffee and cake are my two favouritest things–i will be eating a lot of this!

  6. Oh I love the simplicity of this recipe with the fun addition of the coffee! I too love community sourced cookbooks and think that would be a great topic for a post on design sponge…like a round-up with pics!

  7. Gina says:

    Yum. Seems chicory/coffee would work well here.

  8. Lauren says:

    oh my i love love love coffee cake!

  9. Aimée says:

    I’m seconding Katie, where can I get my hands on those cupcake liners?

  10. Debbie says:

    Happy Friday!
    I love coffee cakes –
    the recipe looks simple but the last few lines in the recipe threw me off..
    —-the recipes calls for a 8 inch baking pan – not in a cupcake pan
    —-“when cool, fill and ice as desired” – I’m puzzled by that. Today could be one of these days that nothing ever makes sense to me.
    Anyone- can you please help clarify? Thanks

  11. Rene says:

    I also love collecting old cookbooks from church groups and junior leagues. I have found some great recipes over the years….I always have a stack of cookbooks by my bed. My nightly reading.

  12. kristina says:

    Hi everyone– The wrappers were purchased at Wheel and Barrow in Australia. You can click on the link in the post after the recipe to see if they have them on their site/if they do mail order.

    @Debbie – I explain in the intro why, although the recipe calls for a cake, I chose to do muffins.

    Hope you all love these! They are really good!


  13. Jasper says:

    Two cookbooks I remember growing up with are The Old Moosewood Cookbook, and More With Less Mennonite Community Cookbook.

    I’m going to bake these! and a delicious espresso mascarpone filling would be divine, and chocolate shavings!

  14. keroiam says:

    ditto debbie’s questions. this looks amazing, but those same things confused me, too. thank you!

  15. Andrea says:

    A WONDERFUL community sourced cookbook that I love is called Square Table and is from Mississippi. It’s available on Amazon and is full of yummy treats!

  16. Connie says:

    Hello friends…these paper baking cups can also be purchased at (several colors) or from etsy shops In The Clear and Sofies Big Day. Make sure you get the paper baking cups not cupcake wrappers. The cups you can actually bake in. In above recipe when she says fill and frost as desired, she means if you were making it as an 8 inch layer cake you would fill and frost. She opted for the muffin version for this tutorial.

  17. Jessica Dudek says:

    So neat … just last night someone blessed me with a bag of very strong Columbian coffee … I then had a thought about making something baked with coffee in it … wa la … Excited to make this today ;)

  18. D.C. Tuncay says:

    I will try this and fill with Nutella and frost with a mocha or a maple/hazelnut frosting.

  19. Mike O. says:

    Hi- for a great regional cookbook full of both stories and recipes, definitely check out ‘True Grits’ from the Junior League of Atlanta. Tons of fantastic Southern-inspired dishes, and each chapter starts off with a story written by notable southern authors, comedians, and storytellers. Truly a classic.

  20. kristina says:

    ooooh Mike! That sounds great! I looked at the Atlanta Junior League Cookbook, but don’t remember it being this one!

  21. Cindy de Neef says:

    Ditto the More With Less comment, so good and simple. Also, a major fav of mine: Eet Smakelijk by the Junior Welfare League of Holland, MI, I give it often as a gift. Every recipe I’ve tried is great! And I love being able to make some of the Dutch foods my Mother in Law and my Grandmother (Oma) used to prepare.

  22. YUM…. looks delicious!!!

  23. Melanie says:

    This post makes me feel so proud! I’m South Australian and live in Adelaide. There is a very strong heritage in South Australia of artisan baking, wine and very high quality produce. Make sure you come and visit next time you’re in our neck of the woods (or on this side of the equator!).

  24. Alix says:

    I *really* would love to see the recipe that calls for a cup of yeast!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Libby says:

    Debbie and Keroiam,
    As Kristina explained in her response to Debbie, the introduction to this post states that she chose to make muffins instead of the layer cake that the recipe calls for. This is in the second paragraph of the post.
    As far as your confusion on the instruction “when cool, fill and ice as desired”, this simply means that the choice of filling (in between the two 8” round layers of cake) and the frosting (on the outside of the cake) is up to you.
    I just found a great recipe on Martha Stewart for a Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting that I will try, as I think that combination will complement this Coffee-Flavoured Cake very nicely. You can access that recipe here:

  26. Michelle says:

    My mum passed down to me both her Green & Gold and her CWA Calendar of Cakes. Haven’t looked at either in ages but this has definitely made me want to dig them out. Thanks Kristina!

  27. Renee says:

    Delicious! I’m learning so many recipes from unexpected places such as interior design blogs. No wonder my lighting blogs include recipes for Beef Wellington. I’m not only one who thinks home and food.

  28. Mel says:

    Tasty! I used one quarter of the sugar, coconut oil, and candied ginger chunks on top. Perfect!

  29. Lex says:

    This is quite urgent: how much do I substitute brown sugar for molasses? Please do answer soon! x

  30. Joey says:

    Looks like a great recipe ^^ May I know how long you baked them for as muffins?

  31. Glad says:

    Oh gosh, I must give this a try. I love everything coffee flavored / pumpkin for the Fall Season! Thanks!


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