Walnut cake

This walnut cake was my grandmother’s favourite dessert. She learned the recipe from a friend of hers in 1959 and she always made it at Christmas and Easter. The cake consists of a walnut sponge cake, a walnut buttercream and a caramel glaze.

I usually bake the sponge cake in an oblong cake pan and I cut it in half to have two layers. If you want to have a round cake, divide the batter between 2 springform cake tins. Though you have to keep the cake in the fridge because of the buttercream filling, it’s recommended to serve it at room temperature when the frosting is soft.

Walnut cake – photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 8 eggs
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 8 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60 g (~2/3 cup) ground walnuts
  • pinch of salt

For the frosting:

  • 120 g (~2/3 cup) sugar
  • 100 ml (~1/2 cup) milk
  • 100 g (~1 cup + 3tbsp) ground walnuts
  • 150 g (~2/3 cup) butter

For the glaze:

  • 120 g (~2/3 cup) sugar
  • 50 ml (~3 1/3 tbsp) milk
  • 80 g (~1/3 cup) butter

Place milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in ground walnuts and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring constantly. Set aside and let it cool completely. Take the butter out of the fridge, cut it into cubes and let it soften a little on the counter.

Thoroughly grease and flour a 40×30 cm / 15×12″ baking pan. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.

In a bowl stir together flour, ground walnuts and baking powder. Set aside.

Separate the eggs and whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until the mixture becomes yellow pale. Stir in the flour-walnut mixture, then gradually fold in the whipped egg whites. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream the softened butter, then add the cooked ground walnuts and whisk together. Once your cake is cool, cut it into half widthways. Place a cake on a tray, spread the filling on top of the cake, and cover it with the other cake layer.

For the glaze caramelize the sugar until it reaches a medium amber color. Pour in milk and add cubed butter, and stir over a low heat until the butter melts and caramel becomes smooth. Immediately pour the caramel over the top of the walnut cake and spread evenly. Allow the cake to rest in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving. Since the filling contains a lot of butter, it is best served at room temperature when the buttercream is soft.

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