Saturday, 11 February 2012


An adapted version of this recipe, using pistachios instead of walnuts, appeared some 18 months ago on this blog (see this link). Now I am posting the original, from Claudia Roden's inestimable Mediterranean Cookery, a long out-of-print book on Meditterranean food, which I refer to time and time again. It's one of my most favourite cookbooks.

This walnut cake is also a favourite, and appears regularly on my supper table. It's easy to make, can be made in advance, and can be adapted using other nuts - the pistachio version was rather wonderful with its delicate green colour when cut. The sugar syrup, which is poured over the cake after it has cooked, turns it into a really rich dessert (omit the syrup if you want a "cakey cake"). Serve with cream, creme fraiche, ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

The quantities given make a big cake, to serve 12. Half this quantity is sufficient for 4 generously, plus seconds, or 6.

100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
350g walnuts, blitzed in the food-processor
6 eggs separated
350g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the syrup:
500g sugar
600ml water
1 tsp cinnamon

Oven 180°C. Prepare a 28" loose-bottomed cake tin.

Blitz the walnuts to fine crumb in the food-processor, and then mix with the flour, salt and baking powder. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks with 150g of the sugar and the vanilla extract until pale and creamy. Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, and then add the remaining sugar gradually (as if making meringue). Fold the walnut mixture into the egg whites, and pour the mixture into the cake tin. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the top is brown and crisp.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by simmering the sugar with the water and cinnamon for about 10 minutes. When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce it all over with a piece of spaghetti or a skewer and pour the syrup over it.

1 comment:

  1. Just looks awesome......very nice pics..... yum n delicious!