Thursday, July 14, 2016

Walnut Cake (Gateau aux noix) for Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day, also known as French National Day, and celebrates the start of the French Revolution in 1789.  To join in the celebrations, I have made a French specialty from The Alps region - Walnut Cake or Gateau aux noix. 

The recipe that I used is from Taste Le Tour by Gabriel Gate.  This is fitting, because the Tour de France is currently on, and this book contains recipes from Gabriel's TV program showcasing recipes from the regions through which the Tour de France is held. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I made this cake, and the "icing" in particular baffled me.  This cake is a flourless walnut cake topped with caramel and decorated with walnuts.  I had no idea what I was doing with the caramel and was scared that I would ruin the cake by putting it on top.  However, I needn't have worried - the cake itself was soft and nutty and delicious, and the caramel on top adds a touch of sweetness. 

To make this cake, you will need:

160g walnuts
150g butter
140g sugar
grated zest of one lemon (I skipped this)
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
a pinch of cream of tartar


50ml water
100g sugar
2 drops red wine vinegar (I used balsamic - no problems)
10 walnut halves

Preheat your oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 22 cm cake tin.

Grind the walnuts to a coarse meal in a food processor.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, lemon zest and half of the sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well between each addition. Fold in the breadcrumbs and walnut meal.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to  form stiff peaks, then whisk in the remaining sugar until the mixture is no longer grainy.

Add a third of the egg whites to the nut mixture and fold in using a rubber spatula, then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top of the cake, then bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the topping, mix the water, sugar and vinegar together in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook to a light brown caramel. Pour the topping slowly onto the centre of the cake and spread it out evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate with walnut halves.

Here is the first slice of cake:

I was amazed at how good this was - definitely a repeat.

Happy Bastille Day!


Pam said...

Oh, that looks delicious! I love walnuts and this cake sounds great, chocolate, caramel, walnuts and all.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, boy, does this sound fabulous!! Walnut cake topped with caramel sauce---I know I'd be swooning with my first bite. Bill, on the other can guess what he'd think! Hope you're having a great week.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I really want to make this cake now! :D Thanks for the recommendation Cakelaw! :D

Kari said...

This sounds delicious - I love the look of it too.

Kayte said...

Oh this walnut cake looks so nice, and so special for a holiday, you find the most interesting recipes. Very pretty.

Johanna GGG said...

Just saw this on Lorraine's blog and love the sound of it - the caramel topping sounds like an interesting version of the icing on the cake