Chocolate Walnut Cake


Setting up your kitchen can be fun. Like real fun. True that I do miss my old kitchen back in Calcutta badly, but the glee of buying fruits and veggies, meat and fish, stocking up on chocolates and chips, sauces and syrups, breads and pasta, herbs and spices and countless glass jars to hoard them has completely overtaken me ever since I've stepped foot in Bangalore. Almost everyday I go grocery shopping — it's actually quite therapeutic for me after 9 hours of work and 40+ km of commute. I have also taken to online grocery shopping, something I had never tried back home. A couple of days back I sourced some almonds, cashews and raisins from an online portal at quite an enviable price. After they got delivered, I realised that I had completely forgotten to buy walnuts.
But as luck would have it, I was ambling around Infantry Road one random afternoon in January (the excitement of ordering for a new dining table took me there early on this particular Sunday). And round the corner on a lane I bumped into a guy selling dry fruits and nuts in bulk. The dried figs in his basket tempted me to no end (despite the fact that I had a jar of them lying in my pantry) and this time around the walnuts were not going to be given a miss. So figs, walnuts and pistachios later, we had a hearty lunch at Empire before I headed to work.
Now, am not much of a walnut-eater myself. I use them primarily for cooking/baking. And whenever
I think of baking with walnuts, the first thing that comes to my mind is this dark and luscious Chocolate Walnut Cake, I have made this cake over and over again, going against my principle of not usually baking the same thing twice. But this cake is so, so good that the last couple of times I made it, it completely got wiped up even before I could take out my camera. So this time I ensured that nobody came near the cake before I had photographed it. And once my camera did its work, I could finally heave a sigh of relief and shove a big slice of the cake in my mouth! And the fact that it is Guilt Free's second birthday today is reason enough to do that!
Ingredients:

Butter, softened at room temperature: 100 gm
Brown sugar: 1/2 cup
Caster sugar: 1/2 cup
Eggs, at room temperature: 2
Flour: 1 cup
Cocoa powder: 4 tbsp
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Amaretto: 2 tsp (or any kind of nut liqueur, optional)
Buttermilk: 1/2 cup (I used homemade buttermilk by adding the juice of one lemon wedge in half cup milk and letting it stand for 5-7 minutes)
Baking powder; 1.5 tsp
Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
Walnut, finely chopped: 1/2 cup + a handful for garnish

For the frosting recipe, click here

Method:

1. In a bowl, sift 1 cup flour. Add the baking powder and soda and set aside.

2. In a blender, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and blend well after each addition.

3. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract and amaretto (if using) and blend well again, scraping down the sides intermittently. Transfer the batter into a big bowl.

4. Now gradually fold in the dry ingredients, 1/3rd at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, till everything is mixed well and the batter looks smooth and luscious.

5. Tumble in the chopped walnuts and fold until just combined.

6. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and line a round cake tin with baking parchment and butter the base and sides.

7. Pour the prepared batter in the tin and level the top with a spatula.

8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted at the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 20-30 minutes before unmoulding.

9. While the cake is in the oven, make the frosting by following this recipe. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours as has been already mentioned.

10. Once both the cake is cooled and the frosting thick and firm, spread it evenly on the top of the cake as well as on the sides. Refrigerate again for an hour or two,

11. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle some chopped walnuts in a pattern that you fancy. Cut into wedges and bite into this decadent delight.
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