Tom Valenti was inspired to make this breakfast cake by a holiday memory that has nothing to do with breakfast: "When I was a kid, a huge bowl of mixed nuts would always appear on the table at Christmastime." Add a scoop of ice cream and the cake becomes a delicious dessert.
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1 cup walnut halves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup crème fraîche (8 ounces)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. Spread the walnut halves in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then beat in the crème fraîche. Beat in the dry ingredients at low speed. Fold in the walnuts.
In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Beat one-third of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack and let cool completely.
Whisk the confectioners' sugar with the half-and-half and cinnamon. Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the side; let cool until set before serving.
The glazed walnut cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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