Walnut and Raisin Coffee Cake

This sublime coffee cake, spiked with a little Marsala or rum, is real comfort food. It is even more delicious accompanied by a glass of wine.–Carol Field

Walnut and Raisin Coffee Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Serves 8


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 6 tablespoons Marsala or rum
  • 10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon walnuts or blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


  • 1. Soak the raisins in the Marsala or rum for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 2. Cream the butter and sugar together well. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, incorporating each one well before adding the next. Mix together the milk, reserved Marsala or rum, and vanilla.
  • 3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Using a rubber spatula, beat the milk mixture into the butter mixture in three additions alternating with the dry ingredients.
  • 4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. With the rubber spatula, stir one quarter of them into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest along with the nuts and raisins.
  • 5. Turn the batter into a buttered and lightly floured angel food pan or ring mold, sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar, and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a tester comes out clean.
  • 6. If you prefer to use a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack, and cool to room temperature.


  • Ciambella al Anice: Use 1 tablespoon anise seeds instead of the raisins and nuts. Substitute Sambuca for the Marsala or rum, or omit it altogether and increase the milk to 1/2 cup.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Vivian Pei

Apr 15, 2004

Other than the slightly burnt bits (thanks to my convection oven), the cake was VERY well received. I baked mine in a loaf pan, and I could imagine it, prettily wrapped up, being well-received as a gift! Whilst you can taste the Marsala (“There’s a bit of booze in this cake!” was one of the happy comments), it is not overwhelming and offsets the sweetness of the raisins and the slightly bitter crunch of the walnuts beautifully.

Courtney Nunes

Apr 15, 2004

This is great as a tasty treat to accompany your morning coffee or as a fabulous finale to any meal. The combination of the rum, raisins, and toasted nuts give this cake a wonderful flavor and nice bit of texture. Easy to make and a big crowd pleaser.

Susan Hillery

Apr 15, 2004

This is the queen of coffee cakes! Everything about this is perfect: the buttery, light crumb combined with the textures of toasted walnuts, rum-soaked raisins and crunchy turbinado sugar topping plus the not-too-sweet flavor with a mysterious hint of rum. The ciambella is now my new hostess and holiday gift presentation piece.

Julie Creekmore

Apr 15, 2004

This is a solid recipe. The Marsala gives it a pleasant fragrance and it has just enough raisins and nuts for interest. Barely sweetened, it is perfect for dunking into a cup of sweet, milky coffee, but it is not quite sweet enough for eating alone. The texture is dense yet light, with a nice crunchy cracked top.

Donna Rose

Apr 15, 2004

This cake was pure heaven…to make and to eat. The process of making the dough is lovely, with all sorts of colors showing up at various stages. The instructions matched my experience of making this cake to the letter; right down to baking time being right down to the minute. I served it to several people (in a half hearted attempt to limit my own nibbling) and to the person, it got rave reviews. The recipe is very versatile, and I will use it for breakfast or brunch, afternoon snack or dessert. It is not too sweet and not too heavy. The rum soaked raisins just make it. Absolutely a keeper and a recipe to share.

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