Don’t underestimate this rather plain looking cake. Easy to make this Sticky walnut cake is quite simply delicious!
It may look like a plain cake but sticky walnut cake is a deliciously light, crumbly, moist, nutty and yes, sticky cake. After baking, the cake is soaked in a tangy lemon drizzle syrup with just a hint of brandy. It is perfect served with a cup of coffee or tea (but you probably do need a fork to eat it) and even better served with some fresh fruit and cream or ice cream as a dessert.
So what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavour and it is special enough to serve for a dinner party or other special occasion. I will let you into a secret, I’m not really a big fan of walnuts, although my view on them is slowly changing. Here they work perfectly giving a soft nutty texture to the cake and I love it.
This walnut cake will keep well if stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
I don’t drink brandy can I leave it out?
The brandy is subtle and gives an extra nuance to the flavour but can be left out if preferred.
In the cake replace the brandy with lemon or orange juice. Omit it altogether from the drizzle. If the alcohol in the cake is not an issue but brandy is not your tipple you could also try substituting rum or whisky.
How to finely chop the Walnuts for the cake
This recipe uses mainly walnuts and only a little flour. You will need to chop the walnuts very finely. This is best done in a food processor. Blitz the nuts in short bursts until finely chopped. They do not need to be as finely chopped as say ground almonds and take care not to over process them you do not want to end up with a nut butter!
It is possible to do this by hand but it will take patience!
How to whisk the egg whites
To make this cake light it is important to get as much air into the mixture as possible So the egg yolks are beaten into the mixture and the egg whites are whisked separately before adding.
Egg whites will not whisk to full volume if there is even a hint of grease. So it is particularly important whenever whisking egg whites to have a scrupulously clean bowl and whisk. If you are using the same beater that you have just used to cream the butter and sugar together, make sure you wash them really well in hot soapy water, then rinse and dry.
Whenever I whisk egg whites I usually wash my bowl and whisk immediately before use as a precaution. They may have picked up a little grease from the air while stored and to be absolutely sure I dry with kitchen roll not the tea towel.
When mixing in the walnuts and egg whites do this in batches. The mixture will be quite stiff to begin with and will knock out some of that air you have carefully whisked in. So if you add it all at once it will knock too much of the air out.
Can I make sticky walnut cake gluten-free?
You most definitely can. The cake needs a little flour to help bind the walnuts together but you can easily substitute the flour with any gluten-free flour or if you only make the occasional gluten-free bake and don’ want to buy a bag of special flour in this recipe you can substitute cornflour instead.
If you like walnuts you may also like to try
- Blackbean brownies with walnuts
- Chocolate passion cake tray bake
- Coffee and walnut brownies
- Coffee and walnut fudge
- Apricot and walnut rye bread – Recipes Made Easy
- Date and walnut scones – Farmersgirl Kitchen
- Breakfast banana bread with walnuts – Tin and Thyme
- Spiced cranberry and walnut bundt cake – Lavender and Lovage
How to make sticky walnut cake step by step
Sticky Walnut cake
- 400 g (14oz) walnuts
- 125 g (4oz) butter softened
- 125 g (4oz) golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs separated
- 50 g (2oz) plain flour
- 4 tbsp brandy
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
For the syrup:
- 125 g (4oz) golden caster sugar
- 150 ml (¼pt) water
- 2 tbsp brandy
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 20cm (8in) springform or deep loose bottom round cake tin
- food processor
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line the base on a 20cm/8in spring clip cake tin.
- Place 400g (14oz) walnuts in a food processor and process until very finely chopped
- Beat 125g (4oz) butter and 125g (4oz) sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in 3 egg yolks.
- Sift together 50g (2oz) flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg into the bowl and mix to combine. Then stir in 4 tbsp brandy.
- Whisk 3 egg whites until standing in soft peaks. Gently fold about one third of the walnuts followed by one third of egg whites into the creamed mixture. Repeat until all the walnuts and egg whites have been incorporated into the mixture
- Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 minutes Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring a wire rack placed over a tray.
Make the syrup
- Meanwhile Heat 125g (4oz) sugar and 150ml (¼pt) water in a small pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- Whilst the cake is still warm, prick all over with a skewer. Stir the grated lemon zest, juice and brandy into the syrup. Spoon the syrup over the cake and allow to soak in. Spoon over any syrup that runs into the tray.
- Serve cold with fresh fruit for a fabulous dessert.