Today I felt a little bit like Little Red Riding Hood going through the forest with a basket full of goodies to bring to her dear grandma.
Only my favorite color is green, I’m not so little, there was no big bad wolf in the forest (only some joggers), and the goodies were enjoyed by yours truly and my husband. But I did get lost. Thank God for creating people who created cell phones.
You see, his office (my husband’s, not God’s) is located 15 minutes walk from our house. How cool is that?! It’s been 6 months since he moved to an office with a window!!! and I have not visited him at work in a long long time. Today is so lovely and sunny after yesterday’s snow (schools closed again), so I fixed us a quick lunch of chicken tortilla wrap (recipe here) and 2 pieces on freshly baked walnut cake and went to the forest. Yesterday’s snow was still thawing and falling to the ground from those big tall trees, but fortunately not on my head.
When my blog was pretty new – only 5 months old – I received an e-mail from a reader, Jillian from Sydney, Australia, who has recommended a cookbook, “Essentials of Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. I ordered it from the library but did not have time to read it before the return due date… Then yesterday I’ve found a recipe for walnut cake from THAT book in THIS book “Cooking for Ms. Latte” (by Amanda Hesser).
I had to try it.
Because I am always on the lookout for good, new, and interesting cake recipes, because Jillian wrote that she “just can’t live without” this book, and because Marcella Hazan is considered one terrific chef (or is she a “cook”? Not sure, but she is still a phenomenal one).
This is a lovely cake, really easy to make, with a pleasant texture of ground nuts, and it reminds me a bit of Babbo Modenese Crumbly Cake that I have posted about last December. My husband says he like this one better.
From “Cooking for Ms. Latte” who has adapted it from “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 pound walnuts*
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rum
Zest of 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch springform pan (I used parchment paper as well – N.).
Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven. They’re ready when you can smell them, usually 4 or 5 minutes (or add another 1-2 minutes – N.). Take the walnuts out of the oven and increase the heat to 350 degrees. Let the walnuts cool completely.
Pour the walnuts into a food processor with 1 tablespoon sugar and grind, using the pulse button, to fine granules but not to powder. Pour into a bowl and reserve.
Place the butter in the processor with the remaining sugar and process until creamy. Add the egg, rum, lemon zest and baking powder and pulse until you have a uniform paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Fold the ground walnuts into the butter mixture with a spatula. Sift the flour in small amounts over the batter and fold together. When all the flour is incorporated, pour the coarse and nubbly batter into the cake pan, leveling it off with a spatula.
Bake in the upper third of the oven. After 45 minutes, test the center of the cake with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. If not, bake roughly 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and remove the sides of the pan. After the cake has cooled somewhat, invert it onto a plate and carefully lift off the pan base (and peel off parchment paper – N.). Invert once more onto a pretty serving plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. The cake’s flavor improves the next day. If you ever make this cake and it seems dry, brush it with sugar syrup infused with whisky or rum. This will brighten it up.
* I used half walnuts and half pecans ‘cause this is what I had in my pantry
Have a wonderful weekend!