250 grams of unsalted, softened butter
1 cup of caster sugar
6 egg yolks
a ‘shot’ of cognac or brandy
juice and zest of 1 orange
300 grams of ground walnuts (make sure they are not too fine – you want a few chunky pieces in there)
2 cups of breadcrumbs or crushed dried rusks
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves – optional
2 teaspoons of baking powder
6 egg whites
For the sugar syrup
3 cups of water
2 cups of caster sugar
1 cinnamon quill
juice of half a lemon
1. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixer until it becomes nice and light.
2. Add the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring each one becomes fully incorporated into the batter.
3. Add your cognac or brandy and the juice and zest and ensure this all mixes well.
4. In a separate bowl combine the walnuts, breadcrumbs, spices and baking powder. Slowly add this dry mixture to your batter, ensuring it mixes well.
5. Beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form and gently fold this meringue into the batter.
6. Place the mixture into a pre- oiled 24cm baking tin or tray and cook in a 180°C oven for 40-45 mins. Ensure the cake is cooked by using the old ‘skewer method’.
7. While the cake is cooking prepare sugar syrup by boiling all the ingredients in a non reactive pot. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for a further 10 mins until you have a nice thick syrup.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down slightly. Pour the sugar syrup over the cake until it becomes fully absorbed.
9. Cut the walnut cake into diamond shapes (anything will do really) and serve immediately with a nice strong espresso.