Coffee Cake a la Pippa

Last year, Haley and I got each other Pippa Middleton’s party planning book Celebrate for our birthdays. After going through the book, one recipe stood out to me the most – a coffee cake. I actually made this last year while we were in Tucson for Christmas and while it tasted great, we weren’t able to follow the recipe 100% accurately and it also didn’t have the best shape. So since then, I’ve been determined to get this perfected. Chip loves this cake and since he had been so patient and understanding of my Christmas excitement (hello, non-stop holiday music), I thought I would make this cake for him for our weekend spent decorating our tree. While the recipe itself is pretty easy to do, the hard part is in the ingredient search for the golden syrup and coffee flavoring. Apparently golden syrup is pretty common in Europe, but I couldn’t find this when I first made the cake last year. The recipe says honey can be used as a substitute, but don’t go this route; it was so hard to have the sugar and butter melt with the honey in the first part of the recipe. So this year, I did more searching and found it at World Market. The coffee flavoring took even more effort. After checking HEB and World Market and calling Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts, I finally found it at Central Market. Thankfully this cake is so good that the search mission was worth it in the end. Now all I need is a pretty cake stand for the next time we make this so I can invite Pippa and her dear sister Kate over for brunch (Christmas gift, anyone?).


  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup golden syrup (or honey, but do what you can to track the golden syrup down)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder or granules (Starbucks Via instant coffee worked best for me here)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
The long sought-after ingredients

The long sought-after ingredients

Ingredients for the buttercream frosting:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 teaspoons coffee flavoring or extract
  • cocoa powder


  • Melt the sugar and syrup in a saucepan, together with the butter, over gentle heat. Stir in the instant coffee until dissolved.
  • Allow to cool completely (you could put the pan in a large bowl of ice cold water to speed up this process), then gradually stir in the eggs and milk.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Pour the syrup mixture from the sauce pan with the sifted flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Beat until smooth, then pour into the cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until well risen and the cake springs back when lightly touched (I’ve never been able to cook this cake in under 25 minutes, I usually end up closer to 30 but would advise staying under 32ish minutes if possible). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the buttercream icing, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, then stir in the coffee extract. Spread the icing over the cooled cake, dust with sifted cocoa powder and decorate with chocolate-coated coffee beans (or in my case, I also like to use chocolate covered almonds; also for some reason, I had to double the icing recipe the first time around last year but didn’t have to the other week, really have no idea why…).
Thanks for the recipe, Pippa

Thanks for the recipe, Pippa

6 thoughts on “Coffee Cake a la Pippa

    1. andrea

      You can order almost anything from Amazon – that is where I got the coffee extract just to make this cake(even though I haven’t done it yet)!

  1. Melissa Lovallo Eng

    I have made this cake 2 times now and it sinks in the middle a lot! It cooks and tastes great but I can’t figure it out. Followed recipe exactly. Its like a hollow cake. Very odd. Did yours stay risen ?

    1. the nance familia Post author

      Yes, that has happened to me as well! I’ve noticed I have to cook the cake longer than the recipe says, and if I open the oven too many times to check on how it’s looking, it will sink more. One trick I’ve enjoyed: I flip the cake once it’s cooled so I frost the flat bottom side. Let me know if you find a way to prevent the sinking!


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