Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Walnut Cinnamon Cake with Candied Walnuts

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Book Clubs have been a large part of my adult life. When my kids were young the few hours at the monthly meeting was one chance to be me, Sandra, person of interest, not me, Mrs G, mother of three.

Busy work years meant no time for Book Club let alone reading for pleasure, but after I gave up paid employment it became a priority again. Around the same time I met a wonderful group of older single retired women at regular group fitness sessions at our local recreation centre. Our conversation often centred on books and film, exhibitions and theatre so our common interests led us to forming a book discussion group.

This is not a group of zipped up staid old maids. They are thinkers, feisty, opiniated and outspoken, interesting and interested woman who embrace life with gusto. We are all left leaning with a strong sense of social justice and are subject to political outrage. These are well travelled women who love the theatre, food, wine and a good belly laugh. I’m the baby of the group and these women are my role models for the years ahead.

Our December meeting and Christmas dinner this year was also an 80th birthday celebration and I volunteered to bake a birthday cake. The birthday girl is our pavlova queen so meringue cake was out of the question and it was too hot and humid for chocolate, so I resurrected this walnut cake recipe as a vehicle for the candied walnuts I was inspired to make, a bit back to front I know, but judging my the oohs and aahs, an inspired decision.

I set aside 12 perfect candied walnut halves for decoration then blitzed half the remaining batch into a crumb to press into the sides of ganache coated cake. Sparklers added birthday bling.

I love this cake and don’t know why the recipe has been shelved for so long. It’s dense and moist, solid enough that it handles easily, but light to eat. The cake cuts cleanly and tastes of walnuts with just a hint of cinnamon.

Happy birthday to my dear friend Jane, 80 years young!

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Walnut Cinnamon Cake

30g dried breadcrumbs

30g brown rice flour

225g shelled walnuts

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

225g unsalted butter at room temperature

180g castor sugar

6 eggs, separated, at room temperature

3 tablespoons castor sugar extra

Preheat the oven to 150C fan forced.
Grease a deep sided, 20cm springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.
Blitz the walnuts breadcrumbs and rice flour together in the food processor to a very fine crumb.*
Cream the butter and sugar until white and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks one at a time.
Stir the walnut meal into the butter.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks then whisk in the extra sugar to stabilise the egg whites.
Fold the egg whites into the walnut mixture 1/3 at a time.
Tip the cake batter into the tin, smooth the top.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a skewer comes our clean when poked into the centre of the cake.
Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before releasing the sides.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.

* including the rice flour and breadcrumbs with the walnuts in the processor prevents the nuts from turning to a paste.

Ganache

1/2 cup cream

125g dark chocolate couverture pellets

Bring the cream to the boil, remove from the heat then stir in the chocolate with a clean metal spoon.
Continue stirring gently until the chocolate has melted. the ganache should be smooth and glossy.
Spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cooled cake.

Candied Walnuts*

2 cups of shelled walnut halves

50g butter

1/2 cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Line a tray with baking paper to tip the finished nuts onto to cool.
In a saute pan melt the butter, sugar and lemon juice. Allow it to simmer until it starts to caramelize. It will only take a couple of minutes.
Add the walnuts, toss to coat in caramel and continue cooking until the caramel is well coloured. Stir in the cinnamon, then immediately tip the nuts into the middle of the tray and spread into a single layer while still hot.
You need to work quickly as even on a warm day I found the caramel hardened within a few minutes.
Use the walnuts whole  to top cakes and brownies, chopped in a salad with radicchio, or as I did, processed to a crumb and used as a sweet crumb sprinkled on ice cream.

* this recipe makes double what is needed to decorate a 20cm cake, but making caramel in very small quantities is tricky because it burns easily.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

30 comments on “Walnut Cinnamon Cake with Candied Walnuts

  1. Pingback: Walnut Frangipane Tart | Please Pass the Recipe

  2. Pingback: Margaret Fulton’s Excellent Chocolate Mousse | Please Pass the Recipe

  3. ChgoJohn
    December 16, 2014

    There is so much to love about this post, Sandra, starting with that opening photo. Wow! No wonder it was so well-received. Love the flavors in this cake and the candied walnut coating must really set off the cinnamon. I’m pinning the recipe with the hope that one day I’ll have the courage to bake it. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 16, 2014

      Aw thanks John, it was a fabulously photogenic cake, but best of all it was indulgent without being rich or cloying. It’s quite a sturdy cake, and no great skill is required to make it, i urge you to give it a trial run!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ideflex
    December 14, 2014

    Holiday Worthy! It’s going on my to bake list…

    Like

  5. Fae's Twist & Tango
    December 13, 2014

    Sandra, What a beautiful cake! Candied walnuts on top? Absolutely gorgeous the way you have placed them. You made Jane forget she has turned 80, but how you made her day special. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. yummyinsidemytummy
    December 12, 2014

    Oh cinnamon! ❤

    Like

  7. Michelle
    December 12, 2014

    Now, that’s a book group I’d love to be in!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      Its a lot of fun, but also very intellectually stimulating…

      Like

  8. Eha
    December 12, 2014

    ‘Not zipped up staid old maids’ made my day! So relate!! Know a few!! With that and the interests and the leanings – wish I lived in the ‘Four-Seasons-in-a-Day’ city: would ask to be a visitor 🙂 ! And am seriously looking at ‘that’ beautiful cake – don’t bake but that one is not so sinful, especially around Yule . . . and it surely looks moreish!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      We have overwhelmed a few newcomers over the years, but visitors are always welcome. I think the walnut cake would be too

      Like

  9. Margot @ Gather and Graze
    December 12, 2014

    What a beautiful looking cake Sandra! Jane must have felt so very special when you brought this out to celebrate her Birthday. Such a lovely combination of flavours.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      I believe she did. We sent Jane home with the leftovers then she sent an email to my husband the next day apologising for eating his share!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. marymtf
    December 12, 2014

    That’s a seriously beautiful cake. Ooh, ah is right.

    Like

  11. Glenda
    December 12, 2014

    I can see why it got oohs and aahs. Good to hear about the left leanings 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      It was right up there among the best cakes i’ve ever made Glenda, a bit of decadence for my bolshi mates!

      Like

  12. nancy @ Plus Ate Six
    December 11, 2014

    Sounds like a brilliant group of ladies. My folks are in a social group in Melbourne – we call it the youth club. I just love the sound of this recipe – walnuts and chocolate are perfect partners.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      There is a certain irrepressible dynamic in a bunch of like minded seniors, idle and bored, never!

      Like

  13. Leah
    December 11, 2014

    Yum! I see you took the inspiration and ran a mile… in the right direction! Fabulous cake. Miss the wonderful book club and its members, it was an honor be a part of so many of those impassioned discussions 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 12, 2014

      It was timely inspiration and it worked a treat, the cake was truly fab! They always ask after you😃xxxx

      Like

  14. cathyandchucky
    December 11, 2014

    Very, very yum! Beautiful festive cake 😄

    Like

  15. My Kitchen Witch
    December 11, 2014

    Still managed to get that chocolate in there! I want to be one of those feisty women when I grow up (I’m still in age denial). They sound like excellent role models! Fantastic that you have this group, Sandra. I’m sure you will put those candied walnuts to other diverse uses.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 11, 2014

      We have heated discussions on all sorts of topics, including the book we have read, no one holds back, but we always part friends. The candied walnuts are so simple to make and have many many uses. Tonight we had them with radicchio and parmesan, delicious,

      Liked by 1 person

  16. cheergerm
    December 11, 2014

    Well Mrs Recipe, this is just gorgeous. Have added it to my ‘list to cook’ list. Those candied waltnuts make my mouth water. Keep on busting those ageist myths to pieces….rock on women! 😁

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 11, 2014

      I feel like a groupie in the company of these women Cheery, they are seriously out there……the walnut cake is amazing and if Mr Yak likes walnuts, he’ll love this cake, as will anyone else you feed it to!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. kamillej2014
    December 11, 2014

    and Gluten free?! I’m in love!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      December 11, 2014

      A special occasion cake with French origins, I adapted to fit into a gluten free diet, it’s seriously good!

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 11, 2014 by in Baking, Cakes, Desserts, FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Gluten free baking and tagged , , , , , .
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