Kahlua Coffee Cake | Packet Mix and From Scratch Versions

Kahlua Coffee Cake


The Welshman was born six weeks early, meaning his birthday is extremely inconveniently located in early January.  This year, I’m going to bake him a cake.  From scratch.  Like a proper housewife.   We were road tripping in rural North Island New Zealand for his  last birthday and the only option was a Christmas pudding scavenged from a closing supermarket.  The locals had already cleared out the bakery!

I was thinking about making this Caramel Coffee Upside Down Syrup Cake from Smaggle or maybe this Lemon and Raspberry Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Lipstick & Cake.

But I’ve decided I am going to reinvent a recipe I invented 20 years ago.  Yes.  I am that old.

More than 20 years ago, I left my family home to go flatting, as they call it in New Zealand.  I was 19 years old, drove an awesome 1960 Morris Minor named Baby and felt very grown up when I bought a water bed on hire purchase.   A water bed!

I left home not really knowing how to fend for myself.  I didn’t know how to cook or clean or how to wash clothes.  I lived on mayo and / or tomato relish on toasted white bread.  Even boiling pasta was above and beyond my skill levels for a considerable amount of time.  I know right.  Seriously.  I did, however, know how to fold cloth nappies and how to hang laundry properly.  Can you venture a guess as to what my family household chores might have been?

One thing I did manage to perfect was the microwave cake.  I invented a fabulous Kahlua Coffee Cake made with a packet mix, the microwave, instant coffee, a decent slug of Kahlua and tonnes of sugar.

Of course, now I’m a packet mix snob (except for my beloved Donna Hay Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownie – I will not have a word said against it), so I have to reinvent my original invention.


Original Kahlua Coffee Cake | Packet Mix Version

  • 1 vanilla buttercake packet mix and required ingredients
  • 1 cup of instant coffee
  • Large slug of Kahlua and aother one for the recipe
  • Lots of sugar

Bake the packet mix cake according to instructions in a microwave ring tin.  Turn it out upside down.  Once slightly cooled pour over a cup of coffee with a decent slug of Kahlua.  Pour slowly until the cake has absorbed as much liquid as it can.  Then pour on a bit more.

Go crazy with the caster sugar.  Chuck it on.  As the cake cools and all the liquid is absorbed, the sugar forms a delicious crust on the top.   This is a really good recipe for people who don’t really like frosting (or icing as it is called in New Zealand).  Yes, these people do exist.  I married one.

Slice and admire the very pretty marbled effect of your Cheaty McCheat Kahlua Coffee Cake.  Serve with real cream – even 20 years ago when I coudn’t actually cook I was a food snob, despite the evidence otherwise offered.  Goes beautifully with a cup of coffee.  Or Kahlua.  Or coffee and Kahlua.  I didn’t judge then and I won’t now.

I took this to every single event I attended for years.  I think people were sick of the sight of me and my delicious cake.


Reinvented Kahlua Coffee Cake | From Scratch Version

Edmonds Butter Cake – from the Kiwi Classic, Edmonds Cookery Book

  • 150g butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I use vanilla extract instead)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of plain baking flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk, approximately
  • icing sugar to dust when cooled (not required for this recipe)

Cream butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift flour and baking powder together. Fold into creamed mixture.  Add sufficient milk to give a soft dropping consistency.  Spoon mixture into a greased and lined deep 20cm round cake tin.

Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  (As I have a fan forced very quick oven, I’d check after 30 minutes or so.  Using a ring tin would also cut down on cooking time).  Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Kahlua Coffee Cake | this is where the magic happens

Brew a cup of coffee using your favourite fancy pants method – cafetiere, espresso machine, French press.

Pour in a healthy slug of Kahlua into the coffee mixture.  Go on then, one for you too.  Some things just don’t change.

Place the Kahlua Coffee Cake onto a serving platter and pour over the coffee and Kahlua mixture.  Then liberally sprinkle with caster sugar.  Maybe sprinkle isn’t the right term.  Really pack it on.  Don’t be shy.

As before, admire the prettiness of the marbled effect.  Serve with King Island double cream and a lovely cup of coffee.  Kahlua if you wish!  I won’t judge.


Kahlua Coffee Cake

Our fabulous location at Hot Water Beach, in New Zealand’s North Island, for the Welshman’s last birthday. Isn’t it gorgeous!


Kahlua Coffee Cake | Happy Birthday to the Welshman

I hope the Welshman enjoys his Kahlua Coffee Cake without icing, and has a fabulous birthday, even though the poor boy is working through these holidays.  Boyo and I have plans to take him out to lunch for a yum cha feast.  His birthday is extremely inconveniently located for present purchasing, but is very conveniently located for the Sydney test.  A whole day all to himself at the cricket – now that’s a fab birthday present!


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  • Images copyright Kim-Marie Williams

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  • Eating Gluten Free - Kimba Likes - 26 February 2015 - 8.00 am

    […] I just bake as per usual, substituting the wheaten flour for gluten free flour to the same measurements.  Like my cupcakes or my pancakes or a Kahlua cake! […]ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Mckenzie - 14 January 2014 - 5.57 pm

    Happy birthday to the Welshman Ii hope he enjoyed his cake.my husbands birthday is this month also the 28th and I am going to make him a fine cake too ,what sort I don’t know yet I think a caramel layer cake that sounds nice!ReplyCancel

  • Sonia from Sonia Styling - 8 January 2014 - 1.05 pm

    Happy Birthday to The Welshman! I happen to think magic happens when you combine dessert with alcohol…ReplyCancel

  • Bev | Iris May Style - 8 January 2014 - 7.55 am

    I adore baking especially for someone I love – this sounds delicious xxReplyCancel

  • Fair, Fake and Fifty - 8 January 2014 - 6.10 am

    How did you end up in Australia? I left home at 17 and went flatting for a few years before heading to Sydney. What wonderful days they were. I still have my Edmonds cookbook… and will try out your cake as soon as I have lost a few more rolls! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 8 January 2014 - 7.52 am

      I headed to Sydney in 1995 when I was 22. Came with a boyfriend. Thankfully now an ex. My Dad worked in Australia on inter-work exchange in the late 80s so I’d always wanted to come back when I was a big girl. I loved Sydney! 10 years later, almost to the day, I did it!ReplyCancel

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