Food - Drink
The Mysterious Origins Of The UK's Classic Coffee And Walnut Cake
America's coffee cakes descended from yeasted bread with nuts and dried fruit, today, they're still topped with streusel or crumbs. Meanwhile, British coffee cake is a traditional slice of coffee-flavored layer cake covered with coffee-flavored buttercream chopped walnuts, and its origins are more vague than its American cousin's.
The first recorded reference to coffee and walnut cake is in a 1934 McDougall's ad for self-raising flour, so the company possibly created the dessert. During the 1800s, food manufacturers began publishing recipes featuring their products to drive up sales, and many "family recipes" today likely came from product labels.
General Mills cookbook editor Cathy Swanson says her company began publishing recipesto deliver "the benefits of General Mills' research, products control, [and] product testing" to customers. Regardless of its origin, coffee and walnut cake is one of the most iconic British desserts of all time that has endured throughout the decades.