Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walnut Jam Cake

I had a few friends over for dinner recently and wanted to serve a dessert that was homemade and yet would not stress me out. This Walnut Jam Cake seemed perfect - Deb classifies it as an "everyday" cake and the dough is made in a food processor. (Though, as someone who has only had a full-size food processor for less than a year, I completely understand that while this direction makes the dough-making very straightforward for those who have a food processor, the recipe immediately becomes more frustrating for those that don't. There is a reason I had only made this Cranberry Coffee Cake at my mom's house in the past.)

Still, I cannot recommend this "everyday" cake highly enough - easy to make, not too sweet (I used less jam than the recipe called for), nutty and delicious. Plus, the topping uses both heavy cream *and* sour cream! It was a hit with the guests and with us as leftovers.

Walnut Jam Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the dough:

1¼ cups walnuts, toasted (in a shallow baking pan at 350°F for 10 minutes) and cooled
⅔ cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

For the topping:

¼ cup jam (I used plum)
⅔ cup chilled heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour an 9-inch round cake pan.

2. Pulse cooled (or, in my case, somewhat cooled) walnuts and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Add butter and process until combined, then add eggs and vanilla, and process until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and pulse just until incorporated. Spread batter in cake pan.

3. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a rack (or, in my case, a plate) and cool completely.

4. Spoon jam over cake.

5. Beat heavy cream with sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until it forms soft peaks, then spoon over jam.