French Gateau Aux Noix (Walnut Cake) Recipe
France has produced much of the world's greatest cuisine and desserts, and this French walnut cake lives up to this hallowed record. It combines the walnut cake's wonderful lightness with heavy cream's sweet goodness in a multi-tiered extravagance that's all too easy to eat. As you bite into the delicious soft and luscious cake, the cream and the nuts meld together flawlessly, and the cream's sweet excess combines with the cake's heavenly nuttiness. It's a truly heavenly entitiy... As you can guess, I rather like it.
One thing worth noting is that the cake has a tendency to congeal in the upper strata, near the base of the bundt pan. The first time I made it, I experienced no problems. The second time, it nearly ruined the cake. The third time, there was some congealing, but not enough to ruin the cake. It is important to remove the cake from the bundt pan at the soonest possible moment to allow it to rest. Do not refrigerate it in the bundt pan, as this will cause it to compact.
On its own, the cake is very good. So if someone is not entirely enthused about using two cups of heavy whipping cream combined with sugar and vanilla, which has been stiffly beaten into a luscious cloud of sweet sugary goodness, then one can just eat the cake by itself. Without the whipped cream topping, it can be served as a breakfast food, albeit a very sweet one, or as a breakfast dessert. Myself, I prefer the heavy cream.
This recipe is adapted from Hows and Whys of French Cooking by Alma S. Lach.
- 1 egg
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup ground or finely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup almond flour or ground almonds
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 + 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- miscellaneous quantity of chopped walnuts
- Combine the 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, with the 1 egg and the 6 egg yolks. Beat or whisk together until the sugar has been well dissolved.
- Combine the cornstarch, almonds, and walnuts. Mix, then add into the sugar-egg mixture until it is smooth. At this point, add vanilla.
- Next, beat the egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon salt (this helps increase their capability to fluff up), and do so thoroughly until they are thick and voluminous. Beat a glob of this into the batter so as to lighten it, and then fold in the rest. This will make it much lighter and fluffier.
- For the bundt pan which is required to cook the dessert in, one can use a cooking spray, or butter and flour. Buttering and flouring it will help prevent it from sticking to the sides of the bundt pan, but takes more effort. Personally, I just use cooking spray, which will it means that there will be a greater amount which sticks, the look of this element of the cake isn't that important as it will soon be covered with whipped cream. Then proceed to bake the cake for 60 minutes at 325 degrees. Check intermittently to make sure it is not burned.
- Allow the cake to cool, then extract it. As mentioned, the cake has a tendency to form a dense upper ring if this is not done with reasonable speed, so do it soon. Cut the cake into three layers with the use of a large and sharp knife, or pull a string through it which is sometimes easier. Proceed to fill these sections with the combined heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, and the 1 tablespoon of vanilla, which have been beaten until stiff. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over it as decoration. Refrigerate until it is the time to serve.
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