Filled with whipped cream-cheese frosting, specked with ground espresso beans, these brown sugar walnut cakes are a melty explosion of flavor on the first bite. The burst of strong coffee, cream cheese, and brown sugar melt in your mouth in seconds. My family and our dinner guests had a difficult time stopping at just one. I love that they're personal sized, layered, and multi-textured: A light and fluffy cake that's full of creaminess, and crunch. These adorable and delicious treats are the perfect festive desert for transitioning into autumn.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnut pieces, finely ground in a food processor; plus more walnut pieces for garnish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
For The Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant expresso powder
1- 8 oz container of whipped cream cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat two 6- cavity muffin top tins with nonstick cooking spray.
2) In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl one or twice as necessary. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat, scraping down the bowl once, until well combined. Add the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin top tins and smooth to the edges of each cavity with a spatula (only about 1/2 an inch to an inch thick. These aren't going to be the size of muffins.)
3) Bake until the tops of the layers are just golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately invert onto a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Make The Glaze
1) While the layers are cooling, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, and espresso powder in a medium bowl until smooth. Slice the muffins in half and fill them with frosting. Close them and cover the tops and sides of the muffins well.