Cue the candles

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Never was a truer word spoken than when Laura Brown recently declared "we do a good birthday". Presents beautifully wrapped, fizz by tradition and cakstands and confetti on hand. It also helps that we have a master baker among our ranks: Victoria's daughter Mercy (a future bake off contender we think) whose expertise is called upon on ocassion. For 15 she whipped us up a Hambledon favourite - classic coffee and walnut topped with an espresso-infused buttercream (recipe below). Happy birthday to us!

For the cake:
225g/8oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
50ml/1¾fl oz strong espresso coffee
225g/8oz self-raising flour
75g/2½oz walnuts

For the buttercream:
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz icing sugar
50ml/2fl oz strong espresso coffee
12 walnut halves, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and pale.
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well to completely incorporate each egg before adding the next egg.
Add the espresso to the mixture and stir well.
Add the flour and walnuts and stir well to completely combine.
Spoon the cake mixture into two lined and greased 20cm/8in cake tins.
Transfer to the oven to bake 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden-brown.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream topping, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a small bowl until pale and light.
Add the espresso and mix well.
Spread the buttercream over the top of each cake, then place one cake on top of the other.
Decorate the top of the cake with the walnut halves (or sprinkles in this case) and serve in generous slices.