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Author Notes: For this cake, the technique is to cut the fat into the flour, then gently mix in the wet ingredients. Cutting the fat into the flour creates small pockets of air in the finished tea cake as it bakes, yielding a lighter, more tender crumb. This technique is especially well suited to whole-grain or high-extraction flours, which tend to give more dense results. The goal is to offset dense texture with careful technique. The recipe also incorporates cultured dairy in the form of kefir cream or buttermilk as well as natural leaven to add additional flavor. —Chad Robertson
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf cake, or two 5 x 3-inch miniature loaf cakes
- 375 grams walnuts
- 102 grams leaven
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 111 grams kefir cultured cream or crème fraîche
- 129 grams grated apple
- 171 grams whole grain spelt flour
- 146 grams sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 89 grams olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or two 5 x 3-inch loaf pans) and line the bottom(s) with parchment paper. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then coarsely chop.
- In a large bowl, mix together the leaven, egg, kefir cream, and grated apple. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Add the olive oil to the dry ingredients and, using a bench knife or pastry cutter, cut the oil into the flour until well distributed. Stir in the walnuts, then add the flour and oil mixture to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s). Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (30 to 40 minutes for miniature loaves), or until the internal temperature of the cake reaches 200° F. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the cake from the pan(s) by slicing around the edges. Unmold onto a wire rack, and let cool completely. The cake will keep at room temperature, wrapped, for up to 3 days.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!