Walnut Cake

Walnut Cake (from the cookbook The French Country Table by Laura Washburn)

Need 9 inch round cake pan, greased


1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a small sharp knife

4 extra large eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup walnuts pieces, ground walnut halves to decorate

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

a squeeze of lemon juice

2/3 cups heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until fluffy. Use the tip of the knife to scrape the vanilla seeds (and add in). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour and ground walnuts. Transfer to the prepared cake pan.

3. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then unmold while still warm.

4. To make the caramel frosting, put the sugar, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, until it turns a light caramel color. Carefully add the cream (it can spatter), stirring until blended.

5. Put the cake on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch the drips. Pour over the frosting in a thin, even layer. Decorate with walnut halves and leave for at least 2-3 hours before slicing, until the frosting has set.