5 Ingredients or Fewer

3-Ingredient Walnut Flourless Cake

May  3, 2014
6 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This cake has been used in my family for parties and gatherings ever since I can remember. It’s so light and irresistible, it's impossible to say no to it. This cake is so simple, and the result so beautiful, you'll pass on the more complicated desserts and take to new walnut roads! It's a promise. —Maria Teresa Jorge

Test Kitchen Notes

I was a little skeptical that a cake could be made with only three ingredients, but what a delight! The ground walnuts provide depth and texture, resulting in a simple, sweet cake that works as well for dessert as it does for a slightly decadent breakfast treat. Pay attention to the author’s instructions not to overbake the cake, but be careful with the cooking time -- mine took far longer than 25 minutes. —Megan

What You'll Need
  • 8 ounces ground walnuts
  • 9 ounces fine sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 walnut halves, for decoration
  • 1 dash icing sugar for decoration
  • Sweetened whipping cream for serving
  1. Butter and flour a 9-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the sugar with the yolks until very fluffy and light in color, about 8 to 10 minutes. With a spatula, mix in the ground walnuts.
  3. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. In three parts, delicately fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
  4. Pour the cake mixture into the pan and bake until it starts to shrink from the sides and a toothpick comes out just slightly humid but with no crumbs or cake mixture - 30 / 40 minutes depending on the oven. Do not overbake - it should be moist inside!
  5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out on a cooling rack.
  6. When cool, transfer to a serving plate, dust with a cloud of icing sugar, and decorate with the walnut halves. Serve with slightly cold whipped cream. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pat Sloan
    Pat Sloan
  • Irene Margaret Cruickshank
    Irene Margaret Cruickshank
  • Audrey Gullett
    Audrey Gullett
  • Bonny
  • Wyn

35 Reviews

Larry G. February 8, 2020
It seems I'm a little late to this party, but I'm going to make this cake soon and thinking about putting a cream cheese frosting on just the top. Would that be a good pairing?
Bonny February 9, 2020
I haven’t tried cream cheese frosting yet but I regularly top this cake with chocolate ganache. It’s a great pairing and it fills up the dent that almost always forms in the center. This cake travels well too.
Pat S. October 10, 2019
I thought this cake was great for my gluten free friends. Has anyone made it with ground almonds instead?
Emilio T. October 10, 2019
I have not tried this cake with almonds instead of walnuts, but I have tried other deserts using almonds instead of walnuts. In my opinion, the result is just so-so. Almonds taste drier. Almonds are not as "juicy" as walnuts are. Walnuts are irreplaceable. I guess pecans would work. I am not really sure what the difference is between pecans and walnuts, but they seem to taste the same.
Emilio T. May 24, 2018
This cake was baked for all important occasions in my family too, in Croatia. We called it the "Panama torte", but I don't know where that Panama name comes from. One difference is that my grandmother and my mother always added a melted chocolate bar or some cocoa powder into the batter. And when it was all done, they also added some chocolate icing made by mixing some chocolate (or cocoa) with sugar and butter. They always managed to slice the cake in half horizontally, to make two layers, and they put the icing both between the two layers and on top of the finished cake. Instead of whole walnuts, we decorated the cake by sprinkling some of the ground walnuts on top. The walnuts have to be very finely ground.
Emilio T. May 24, 2018
I called this cake the "real cake" because most other cakes paled by comparison. After having had this cake for all my birthdays, and after then trying out several other cakes at various weddings, I was so disappointed in those wedding cakes that I asked my mom to bake us "the real cake".
Irene M. May 9, 2018
How could I add coffee to this cake and how much do I add?
Jisch July 31, 2022
Funny you mention it; My late grandmother so many years ago used to make a flourless Walnut Cake that tasted of Coffee. It was absolutely outstanding, & I have been looking for a good Walnut cookbook to try & replicate it. I imagine that one can make this recipe & in place of Vanilla that one generally adds to cakes, I would make a Coffee Syrup with fresh Espresso, Kahlua & Sugar. I'd add about 2 Tabelspoons. I'd serve this with Freshly whipped Cream.
PF April 27, 2018
the receipe says it should be back for 30 to 45 minutes, 25 minutes is not enough time. mine came out with a slight sink in the middle too. it was really moist and delicious. i made it again with 1 cup almond meal & 1 cup almond flour instead of walnuts, no sinking and it was very flavorful. i also used 3/4 cup of sugar (the recipe calls for too much sugar). sooooo good!
Audrey G. December 5, 2017
My mom has made a version of this cake for years. It is one of my favorites! She always does a lemon glaze over the top and serves it with fresh whipped cream. It falls in the middle for her as well. 😁
Maria T. December 5, 2017
Baking in a moderate oven helps a steady rise and minimises the sinking effect.
Bonny August 25, 2015
Last time I made this it fell in the center a little . But no problem. I filled the indentation with chocolate ganache and decorated with whole walnuts.
Wyn August 25, 2015
Does this cake hold well for a coupke of days?
Maria T. August 25, 2015
Hi Wyn,
Because walnuts are fatty the cake is very moist so it does hold well.
I suggets you make it and as soon as it has cooled wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge.
Remove from the fridge and unwrap 3 hours prior to serving and only dust with icing sugar when ready to serve.
Maria Teresa
Bonny August 25, 2015
Well, it will hold up only if you can refrain from eating it that long..But yes it soes fine for two or three days.
Lucis L. June 12, 2015
What can I substitute sugar with? I mean a non-sugary solid.
Maria T. June 13, 2015
I'll be very curious and attentive to the answers to your question!!!
Bonny January 8, 2015
Lovely. It fell a little but did not effect taste. I added 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla. Delicious!
Marques July 27, 2014
Finally made this last night -- VERY nice flavor and texture! As comments suggest, longer cook time could be useful: my cake was a bit wet in the middle. Everyone loved it -- will definitely make again!!
Maria T. July 27, 2014
I'm glad you liked the cake.
I'll have to try making the cake in a normal oven to get the time right. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Jackie June 3, 2014
Sorry about the sentence structure. I meant to say: When I took it out of the oven it was very high. Once it was out of the oven , it fell
Maria T. June 3, 2014
Yes, I imagined! That's what happens to me sometimes. As I said, it's a mistery, because othertimes it remains up.
Amanda J. April 15, 2017
Itl be the way the eggs are done I think I've not yet done this recipe but the egg part is like making a soufflé or meringue
Jackie June 3, 2014
You know sometimes good things come out of mistakes. Well, I made the cake again. This time, as the last time, I beat the sugar and eggs for nor more than five min. so the cake did not look like the picture. I baked it for 45 min. Instead of airy and fluffy looking, but once out of the oven, it fell and was very dense, like a flourless chocolate cake. I decorated as you suggested and served with whipped cream. It was wonderful. I think the walnut taste was probably more intense with this version. Friends loved it and asked for the recipe. I really do want to make it right one day, but I really like this version. It's my new go to dessert. Actually, I just took it out of the oven for a dinner tomorrow night.
Maria T. June 3, 2014
I'll tell you something... maybe 9.5 times out of 10 I make my own version of the recipes. It's something stronger than myself, I just can't help it. So I totally understand you.
I've had times when my cake has fallen as well and I filled the hole with whipped cream, I never understand why sometimes it fall and others it doesn't, I think it's how much I whip the egg whites!!!
Anyway, If friends are asking you for the recipe, girl you've got a winner there! Just go for it, in any way! And thanks for keeping me posted with the results.
Jackie May 27, 2014
I tried this c ake today. I let it cookd for twenty five min, even though it was not set in the middle, I did the toothpick test. No crumbs or batter were on the toothpick, so I took it out. When I turned it over on my serving plate it plopped out because it was not cooked at all in the middle. What could have happened? I use an oven thermometer so I know the temp was good. The edges were cooked and that tested good, so I am going to try to do this again. Do you measure oz or go by 8 oz being equal to a cup?
Maria T. May 28, 2014
Thank you for your comment.
I'm sorry the recipe caused you problems.
As far as timing, I have a semi-industrial oven with forced ventilation so my oven cooks in less time than conventional ovens.
Megan, who tested the cake, and if you read her notes above, says her cake took far longer than my 25 minutes.
I would assume another 15 minutes are required but I need to bake it in a friend's home oven to confirm - I'll do it as soon as possible.
Regarding weight, I only use ounces measured in a scale.
All desserts should be measured in a scale for precision.
Hope next time you don't have the same problem.
BellaRasa May 16, 2014
I just made this cake and it's delicious! It's moist, light, not too sweet and so easy to prepare. Thank you Maria Teresa!
Maria T. May 17, 2014
I'm so happy you made the cake and you liked it.
This is the whole reason of sharing family recipes - letting other people make good food!
Thank you for giving it a try!
vvvanessa May 5, 2014
Wow! Can't wait to try this!
Maria T. May 6, 2014
Do try it and tell me what you think!
Flirty F. May 5, 2014
This looks delicious and simple! Looking forward to try it, to see how it turns out!
Maria T. May 6, 2014
Hope you do and like it!
BellaRasa May 3, 2014
This cake looks wonderful, but can you please explain "8.8 fine sugar". Thanks.
Maria T. May 4, 2014
Sorry, ounces. Already made change in the recipe. Thank you for noticing the mistake.