Calabrian Black Walnut Cake

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Ingredients

Five ingredients. That’s all you need to make this incredibly moist cake. A testament to creativity, simplicity and resourcefulness, it’s a very practical dessert that should be saved in every kitchen’s recipe box. (Except that at only five ingredients, you might be able to just memorize it.)

Calabria is a region in Southern Italy, where fall signals time for the baking of these traditional tortas. They’re very modest. Which is all the more reason to love them. A great reminder that you don’t have be fancy to be rich.

Because they are not overly sweet, they can be served for either dessert or breakfast. The best part is that whenever you serve Calabrian Black Walnut Cake, people will think you labored over it much more than you did. Remember, just five ingredients. Five!

The key to this rustic delight is that the Black Walnuts are ground into a fine, sand-like meal before blending with its friends: eggs, sugar, lemon and salt. By grinding the walnuts so small, you get to experience the nutty, buttery flavor apart from the signature bumpy texture.

Chef’s tip: Let your cake cool COMPLETELY. If you serve it warm, the cake will appear to have a moist center and will be easily crumbled—still delicious, but may not be the presentation you’re going for. We suggest topping your cooled cake with confectioners’ sugar, fresh fruit, whipped cream or Wet Black Walnuts. It can also be glazed with 3 Tablespoons of amaretto for a traditional Italian touch.  Enjoy!

Calabrian Black Walnut Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 packed cup of brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 oz. Black Walnut pieces
  • Prepare a round 9-inch cake pan, lining it with parchment paper/aluminum foil and butter.
  •  (A 9” Springform pan will also work)

Separate the eggs.  Beat the whites until they form stiff pikes and reserve.

Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse meal, the texture of sand.

In a tall bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and salt. Pour egg mixture into a large bowl.  Add the walnut meal slowly in 3-4 additions, stirring gently to combine. Batter will be very thick.  Beat the egg whites into the walnut mixture again in 3-4 additions. This may appear to be difficult but persevere! It will come together by the last addition of egg whites!

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven at 350º F for about 40 minutes. If the cake appears to be getting too brown, lower the temperature slightly and turn the cake in the oven to even out the heat.  When the cake is ready, the top is firm and nicely browned.  Don’t worry if the edges appear to be too dark.  The nuts brown easily and this won’t affect the taste or texture.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan using the paper/foil and set it on a rack to finish cooling.

When the cake is COMPLETELY COOL, wrap tightly in plastic and foil and let chill in fridge until 1 hour before serving. This cake is even better after it has had some time to cool or the day after it is made! Warm to room temperature (or warmer) before serving. This also makes a delicious Breakfast and the high protein in Black Walnuts is an extra bonus!!

Directions

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 packed cup of brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 oz. Black Walnut Pieces
  • Directions:
  1. Line a round 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and butter.
    (A 9” Springform pan will also work)
  2. Separate the egg’s yolk and egg white. In a small bowl, beat the whites until they form stiff pikes and reserve. Save the yolk for step 4.
  3. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse meal. They should resemble the texture of sand.
  4. In a tall bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and salt. Pour egg mixture into a large bowl. Add the walnut meal slowly in 3-4 additions, stirring gently to combine. Batter will be very thick. Beat the egg whites into the walnut mixture in 3-4 additions. This may appear to be difficult but persevere! It will come together by the last addition of egg whites.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven at 350º F for about 40 minutes. If the cake appears to be getting too brown, lower the temperature slightly and turn the cake in the oven to even out the heat. When the cake is ready, the top is firm and nicely browned. Don’t worry if the edges appear to be too dark. The nuts brown easily and this won’t affect the taste or texture.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan using the paper/foil and set it on a rack to finish cooling.
  7. If you serve it warm, the cake will appear to have a moist center and will be easily crumbled, but the flavor is worth it! Top with confectioners’ sugar, fresh fruit, whipped cream or Wet Black Walnuts. It can also be glazed with 3 Tablespoons of amaretto for a traditional Italian touch.
  8. When the cake is COMPLETELY COOL, wrap tightly in plastic and foil and let chill in fridge until 1 hour before serving. This cake is even better after it has had some time to cool or the dayafter it is made. Warm to room temperature (or warmer) before serving.
Recipe Video

Calabrian Black Walnut Cake

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