A nutty three-layer cake


August 25, 2004|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Evelyn Zacker of Monkton requested a recipe for a black-walnut cake that she described as a three-layer white cake with black walnuts.

Beth Edelstein of Timonium responded. "Here is the recipe for black-walnut cake your reader wanted. It comes from Southern Heritage's Cakes Cookbook, 1983. Black walnuts may be difficult to find; I know they are difficult to pick out. English walnuts may be substituted if necessary, but the flavor will be more subdued. Use the original black walnuts if possible."

Black-Walnut Cake

Serves 12 to 16

1 cup chopped black walnuts, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup butter or shortening, at room temperature

2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs, separated

3 cups flour, divided use

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

Place walnuts in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. This process not only plumps the nuts, but also removes pieces of shell. Cream shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks; beat well.

In another bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix well after each addition. Dredge black walnuts in remaining 1/4 cup flour; fold into batter. Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake in preheated, 350-degree oven for 25 minutes to 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes (very important), remove layers from pans and let cool completely.

Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with additional chopped walnuts.

Per serving (with frosting, based on 16 servings): 630 calories; 6 grams protein; 23 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 103 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 86 milligrams cholesterol; 336 milligrams sodium


Makes 12 to 16 servings

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

7 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided use

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

2 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Combine 2 cups confectioners' sugar and salt; gradually add to butter, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add remaining 5 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar alternately with milk, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and beat again. Frost cake.

Per serving: 324 calories; 0 grams protein; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 56 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams fiber; 30 milligrams cholesterol; 102 milligrams sodium

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "Black walnuts have a distinctive, almost bitter taste that people either love or hate. Boiling the nuts at the beginning also serves to diminish their bitterness. [A tip: Black walnuts have a very high fat content, so be sure to use them right away or freeze them so they don't turn rancid.]

"The finished cake is a sophisticated, classic three-tiered cake with a rich, sweet frosting. Be sure to begin monitoring the cakes' doneness at around 20 minutes. Although the nuts add moisture to the finished cake, the layers can be very dry if overcooked. Remove them from the oven when a tester still has a couple crumbs stuck to it.

"The tops should be just faintly golden when you remove the layers from the oven. If your cake pans aren't nonstick, you may want to line the bottoms with buttered waxed paper so the bottoms don't stick."

Recipe requests

Carole Meyer McDade of Baltimore is seeking a cookie from her childhood. "It was a flat cookie, rectangular shape, golden-brown in color with an almond on top. It tasted slightly butterscotch with almond extract."

Cynthia Kiger of Jefferson, Ore., is seeking a recipe for an applesauce doughnut.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number.

Important: Names must accompany recipes for them to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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