Have you guys been reading about Rene Redzepi and his inspiring restaurant Noma? I was wowed by his enviable foraging and thoughtful approach to food in this New Yorker article. Then, when I saw Bon Appetit's piece on the home-cooked meal he and his wife made for David Chang, I knew their Walnut Cake recipe was one I needed to try.
Nuts are essential to our pantry. Give us pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, marcona almonds and we'll toss them into salads, porridge, and pastas. And of course nuts are a quick and easy snack any old time. Whenever I stumble upon an interesting recipe that bakes with nuts, I feel compelled to give it a go and am rarely disappointed.
We noshed on Redzepi's cake for days. It works not just for dessert, but also for a nice tea, or even breakfast. Topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a few berries, or a smear of Kumquat Marmalade, this nutty cake made me extremely happy!
Notes: Keep in mind that this recipe feeds quite a crowd - considering the richness of the ingredients, a little slice is all you need. Next time, I'll try cutting the recipe in half.
*Also I have been trying to avoid most sugars lately, thus I have adapted the recipe to use honey and coconut sugar - both great flavors that worked really well with the walnuts.
INGREDIENTS adapted from Bon Appetit March 2012 by Rene and Nadine Levy Redzepi
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
- 6 tablespoons coconut sugar, * divided in half (or Redzepi asks for raw sugar)
- 7 cups walnut halves
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour ( GF folks I used Pamela's Bread Blend)
- 1 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup honey*
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cow or sheep's yogurt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon genuine vanilla extract
- optional toppings: whipped cream, berries, pears, jam, yogurt
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your 13x9x2 inch baking pan by sprinkling 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Coarsely chop 2 cups of walnuts in a food processor. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the remaining 5 cups of walnuts in the food processor. Add the flour and pulse the processor until the nuts are finely grounds. Add almond meal. Pulse to combine.
In another large mixing bowl (your Kitchen Aid Mixer, if you have one) beat butter and honey together for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, cream, yogurt, salt, and vanilla and mix ingredients until well blended - another minute or so.
Add finely ground walnut/flour/almond meal mixture to the sugar/egg/butter mixing bowl. Stir to integrate ingredients. Finally, fold in coarsely chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons coconut sugar evenly over the top.
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Test for doneness with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean, your cake in done.
Set aside cake to cool on a baking rack.
Redzepi suggests placing the cake in the refrigerator and serving chilled.