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Albanian Walnut Cake with Lemon Glaze

September 30, 2009

Albanian Walnut Cake

Thank you, Albania for this incredible cake. When it comes out of the oven it is a dark, earthy, aromatic treat. Between the rich flavor of the walnuts, the cinnamon and the allspice, it tastes very much like a holiday-on-a-plate. That, by the way, is the highest compliment I pay to desserts. The lemon is the real star in this recipe. Every time I bit into a piece that had a little piece of lemon rind or some of the lemon glaze, it was a like a clear, high note quickly soaring to the top of the flavor profiles, then fading away with equal speed.

I would consider serving this with homemade whipped cream that is not too sweet and not too heavy on vanilla. The glaze doesn’t really glaze the cake, in the classic meaning of the term, but it does seep into the cake and down the sides, making it lovely and moist.

Excellent with a glass of port.

Albanian Walnut Cake Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
1/3 cup plain yogurt (whole not light or nonfat)
1/3 cup buttermilk (or replace with an additional 1/3 cup of yogurt)
2 cups cake flour (I use Swan’s Down)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (be sure to remove all shell pieces)

Albanian Walnut Cake Directions

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and combine.

In another mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients, adding the cinnamon at the end. Add the dry ingredients and the yogurt/buttermilk to the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the lemon rind and the walnuts. Mix well, making sure all the flour is broken up and combined into the mixture.

Place the cake mixture in a buttered, 9X13 baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat and turn off the oven. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic.

While the cake is baking, you can make the glaze.

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick of cinnamon (about 3 inches)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
dash of ground cloves

Lemon Glaze Directions

Add the ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Pour over the top of the cake and return to the warm oven. Let the cake sit in the warm oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and serve.

Albanian Walnut Cake

Albanian Walnut Cake

Serves about 12.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2009 4:25 pm

    Lovin’ it! I can hardly wait for Algeria. By the way, I think I’d like to try it with a late harvest Chardonnay.

  2. October 4, 2009 7:48 am

    Merely reading about food doesn’t ordinarily make my mouth water but you just did it.

  3. October 4, 2009 8:02 am

    This cake seems to get more moist, not less, with each passing day. Is that even possible?

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