Walnut Cream Cake
This recipe is by Alon Shaya, adapted from Fenves family recipe.
Yields one cake
8 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
Zest of 2 lemons, divided
2 cups dark chocolate chips or chopped pieces, divided
5 cups walnut pieces or halves, divided
¾ cup almond flour
1 cup whole milk
12 ounces soft unsalted butter
1½ cups powdered sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and toast the walnut pieces for 15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Place ½ cup of toasted walnuts aside for garnish. Grind the remaining walnuts through a meat grinder so they are evenly ground and fluffy. You can also chop in a food processor or with a knife but make sure you get the mixture chopped fine and evenly. Set aside.
Prepare a 9”x5” loaf pan by lining it with buttered parchment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form then incorporate 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.
Remove the whipped egg whites from the stand mixer bowl and place into a separate bowl. Set aside. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and place in the egg yolks with ½ cup of the granulated sugar and zest of one lemon. Whisk on high speed until pale in color and it has a light and fluffy texture. You will need to scrape a few times to make sure it’s evenly combined. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate into the whipped yolk mixture and whisk well.
Fold in 1 cup of the ground walnuts as well as the almond flour into the yolk mixture. Make sure it is well combined, then add ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the bowl. Lightly fold in being careful to keep as much of the air in the mixture as possible. Repeat two more times only folding in ⅓ of the whites at a time. Once fully incorporated, pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and bake for 40–45 minutes or until the cake has reached an internal temperature of 208F, or a butter knife comes out clean with no raw batter attached to the blade. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the pan then remove and place on wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. Slice the cake into thirds along the length of loaf.
To make the filling:
Place 2 cups of the ground walnuts, the milk and ¾ cup of granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate. Stir until well combined and let cool to room temperature.
Layer the cake by placing half of the filling on the first layer and half on the second layer. Top with the last slice of cake and place in the refrigerator for two hours to chill. Remove and trim the cake so it is a rectangle with straight edges. Keep the pieces you trimmed off for snacks.
To make the icing:
In the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place the softened butter, the powdered sugar, the vanilla, the remaining cup of ground walnuts, the zest of the remaining lemon, and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Whip on high speed until light and fluffy. You’ll have to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s evenly combined. Ice the cake and garnish with toasted walnut halves. Best to serve at room temperature.
Click here to read more about the Fenves family history.
Used with permission of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.