It is that time of the year again in Switzerland when the Advent is approaching and the children are becoming excited about meeting Samiclaus (the Swiss version of Santa Claus) on St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. Unlike the Santa Claus in most other parts of the world, Samiclaus does not have the same breadth of resources nor financial liquidity, so his gift to children is usually a small hessian sack containing clementines, walnuts, peanuts, some gingerbread, and maybe a few pieces of (Swiss) chocolate. No prizes for guessing what gets eaten first!
But one recipe I have been wanting to try since returning home from the Manger Workshop with Mimi Thorisson is this delicious Walnut Cake. Made using freshly ground walnuts and heady with rum, it is a cake which truly celebrates the current season. You can find the recipe on her blog or in her new cookbook, French Country Cooking. And if you would like to win a copy of her new cookbook, simply scroll down and enter the giveaway!
I have altered the recipe below by changing the method to how I make nearly all of my cakes. That is, I like to cream the butter and sugar first, add the liquid ingredients, and then fold through the dry ingredients. I should also admit that I changed the method because Mimi’s recipe doesn’t state whether the butter should be softened or melted, and I couldn’t remember what she had used in the workshop … So I decided to use softened butter, and the result was a deliciously moist cake with a lovely crumb.
One tip I took from Mimi was to serve it with a drizzle of dark rum, poured from a dainty little pot which I think was traditionally used to keep concentrated tea. When I saw this little pot at an antique store in Saint-Christoly-de-Médoc, I knew I wanted it, although I procrastinated a little because there was (and still is) a big risk my 20-month old daughter might claim it as part of her dolls’ tea set.
There are so many recipes from French Country Cooking which I am looking forward to trying, and I hope to share a few more recipes from the book here on this blog soon!
- ⅔ cup (130g) granulated sugar
- 5½ tablespoons (80g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons dark rum, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup (40g) plain flour
- ¼ cup (30g) cornflour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup (150g) walnuts, plus more for decorating
- 1 cup (250 ml) double cream, whipped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease and flour a 7 inch (18cm) Bundt tin with approx. 6 cup (1.5 litre) capacity. (I recommend using a special non-stick baking spray.)
- Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Mix through the vanilla, rum, and honey.
- Add the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold through the flour, cornflour, baking powder, and sea salt.
- Place the walnuts into a food processor and blitz until you have mostly fine crumbs (some coarse crumbs are ok). Add the ground walnuts to the batter and fold through gently.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully unmoulding it. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Decorate the cake with some walnut halves and drizzle with some honey. Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of rum.
WIN A COPY OF FRENCH COUNTRY COOKING
BY MIMI THORISSON
In connection with Clarkson Potter, Eat, Little Bird is giving away TWO copies of French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson.
The giveaway is open to anyone worldwide and the books will be distributed as follows:
*one copy to a winner in the United States
*one copy to a winner in the rest of the world
How to enter
Leave a comment below and tell me what your favourite French food is. Please indicate which country you are from in the comment form (this information will not be publicly displayed).
Entries will close at the end of Friday 9 December 2016 and the winners will be notified by email. Good luck!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Stacey and Margaret! You have each won a copy of French Country Cooking. Thank you for entering the giveaway and happy cooking!