Saturday, April 10, 2010

Walnut Brandy Cake

Adapted from :pastry studio

I have been busy at work and at home and, consequently, remiss about posting. But I've decided that not every post has to tell a story, especially when I have a recipe I want to share.

Since I last wrote, our bleak winter

turned into glorious spring,

and last Saturday was Ice Cream Day.

My contribution to it was walking through the Park eating a sugar cone topped with Crema di Grom - custard gelato studded with pieces of Italian biscuits and chocolate chips.

My contribution to losing ten pounds was that the cone was small.

The food I yearn for changes with the seasons.

Right now I'm eating



artichokes, and


I'm also thinking about what's to come next - especially summer sun-drenched local strawberries.

I started to dream about strawberries when I saw this recipe for Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream.

I know there are a lot of wonderful food blogs out there, and I wish I had time to find and read them all. But I don't. So I only read a few regularly, and :pastry studio is one of the blogs in my Google Reader.

And no wonder.

I favor outlaw pastry - simple, fresh, custom, minimally sweet handmade objects of desire formed in an open space where nothing comes between the art and the practice.

The writing is sensual; the pictures are beautiful; and the recipes are divine - spare, very, very elegant - and they work!

This cake is a favorite of mine. Rather plain. But not like Jane. More like your basic black dress. It's great to have hanging around your kitchen. But it won't be there for long because it's eminently snack-able at all times of the day and night

It's particularly good around 4:00 p.m. with a cup of tea. After dinner you can cut a slice into fingers and serve it with whatever ice cream sounds good to you - perhaps vanilla, coffee, or a nut-studded one (depending on what nuts you used in the cake).

And maybe a small glass of brandy?

Walnut Brandy Cake
Adapted from :pastry studio

6 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar - I use Florida Crystals Organic
3 large eggs at room temperature
3 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted nuts - walnuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil an 8-1/2 x 4-1/4" loaf pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to line the bottom of the pan lengthwise with a lengthwise overhang.

Toast the nuts. :pastry studio stays the nuts can be toasted "in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until they are only slightly darkened and give off a toasty aroma."

Cream the butter, then add the sugar slowly, and beat in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until flight and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time. Don't add the next egg until the one before it is incorporated into the batter.

Put the milk in a small bowl or cup, and add the vanilla and brandy.

In another small bowl mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Then sift this mixture onto a piece of aluminum foil.

Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter and egg batter followed by half of the milk mixture, and beat together. Then add another third of the flour mixture and the other half of the milk mixture, and beat again. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture, and beat until it's just incorporated into the batter. At this point switch to mixing the batter by hand, folding the nuts in after a minute.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake until a cake tester comes out clean. This will take 45 to 50 minutes depending upon your oven.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. After about 30 minutes, remove the cake from the pan and let cool.

Head over to :pastry studio to check the site out. In the meantime, I'm waiting for strawberry season. The Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream is on my menu for the Fourth of July.


  1. Lovely cake. I will have to try it out next time I have my bridge partners coming over to play. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Victoria, I'm so delighted to see this gorgeous cake featured on your beautiful blog! It's so much fun to see how everyone shares their work with everyone else.

    Thanks so much for your very kind and generous support of my work. Happy baking!

  3. Victoria,

    I look forward to meeting you, too! Thank you for your comment. That walnut brandy cake looks delicious!



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