Each year when the date of BeeBop’s birthday gets close, I always ask him what kind of cake he’d like for his day. I can usually anticipate his answer – German Chocolate. Or sometimes Lemon Cheese. But this year he completely took me by surprise when he said, “I want that Walnut Cake we saw on TV the other day.”
Excuse me? The walnut cake that Laura Calder was making on Cooking Channel? You mean he was actually paying attention to the always-running cooking shows on our television and was really asking me for a flourless, French cake for his birthday? Yes, he was. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Once I confirmed that I had heard him correctly, I got excited because I’ve wanted to try this recipe for a long time. But I would have never guessed that BeeBop would go for a flourless cake. Goes to show how much I know, right?
This was my first ever attempt at a flourless cake and I’m here to tell you that it won’t be the last. This cake was rich but not too sweet and had just the right amount of chocolate and coffee in the batter. Certainly a non-traditional birthday cake but one of the most enjoyable that I can ever remember.
You’ll start this cake by preparing an 8″ pan. Butter the pan well and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom. Insert the parchment and butter it, too.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grind the walnuts and breadcrumbs together in a food processor. The walnuts should be quite fine, but don’t process too long or they’ll lose texture and become oily.
Separate the egg whites and yolks. In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, whisk the yolks and sugar together until they have tripled in volume and become thick and very pale yellow. Take the yolks off the heat and stir in the nut mixture and chocolate. Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Stir in the coffee or espresso. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Stir a small amount of the beaten whites into the batter to loosen it.
Add the batter to the remaining egg whites and gently fold it in.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Note – the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan during baking. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the serving plate.
Decorate with sifted confectioner’s sugar and additional walnuts, if desired. Serve with whipped, sweetened cream.
Other flourless cakes you might enjoy:
- Tyler Florence’s Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Flourless Almond-Lemon Cake from Epicurious
- Flourless Honey Almond Cake from Eating Well Magazine
- Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Angel Cake
- Two years ago: Not Quite Classic Waldorf Salad
- Three years ago: 1960’s Flashback: Baked Alaska