Walnut Layer Cake

Walnut Layer Cake

This is my favourite cake, made all the more enjoyable by the fact there are few options like it sold in cafes and coffee shops. To describe it to someone who has never tried it, the texture is a little like carrot cake, but the sponge is a lot lighter. This is my excuse for being able to eat copious amounts! Sometimes nutty cakes can be a little dry, but the thin layers and generous amounts of icing mean that this isn’t the case here. The icing is ridiculously moreish; just the right sweetness.

The method is very different to normal cakes, but don’t let that put you off; it’s just more interesting! When making the icing, I would normally say just to stick the chocolate into the microwave to melt, but here you should really melt it over a bowl of hot water. White chocolate can be a little temperamental when melting, so keep the heat low and stir regularly to prevent it from curdling. If the chocolate and butter mixture does go a bit lumpy, don’t worry – the fact that you also add walnut pieces will disguise this!

Ingredients

4 eggs

130g caster sugar

120g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

150g walnuts, finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla essence

30g butter, melted

Icing:

250g chopped white chocolate

60g butter

250g softened cream cheese

100g icing sugar

4 tbsp chopped walnuts

12 walnut halves

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC
  2. Butter three 18cm (7 inch) baking trays and line bottoms with greaseproof paper
  3. Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl set over hot water for 5–8 minutes, using an electric mixer, until beater leaves a visible trail across the surface. Don’t worry if this takes longer – it sometimes does!
  4. Combine dry ingredients, then fold in the egg mixture
  5. Stir in vanilla extract and butter using sweeping movements, to keep mixture airy and light
  6. Divide batter amongst trays
  7. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until inserted skewer comes out clean
  8. Leave in pans for a few minutes, then turn out to cool on wire racks
  9. To make the icing, melt chocolate and butter over hot water
  10. In another bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then gradually add the icing sugar and walnut pieces
  11. Add to chocolate and beat again
  12. Refrigerate until it has firmed to a spreadable consistency then assemble cake, alternating layers and icing, decorating with walnut halves

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