Essentially a walnut cake that is part vanilla and part mocha (both good go-with-walnut flavors), this is beautiful, particularly if you pour in all the white batter, cover it with the dark batter and marble it minimally, so that you end up with a chocolate gingko leaf pattern in the center.
Storing: Because this cake is so buttery and moist, it is an excellent keeper. Wrapped well, it will keep at room temperature for about 5 days (and, if it stales a bit, it will still be delicious lightly toasted); packed airtight, it can be frozen for us to 2 months.
Serving: If you are going to serve this as a tea- or coffee-break cake, just slice and serve. However, if you'd like to turn it into a substantial dessert, add a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. A few candied walnuts wouldn't hurt.
Recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006). —Dorie Greenspan
- Serves 12
2 1/4 cups
finely ground walnuts
sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
coffee, hot or cold
finely ground instant coffee or instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups
pure vanilla extract
whole milk, at room temperature
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. (If you've got a silicone Bundt pan, there's no need to butter or flour it.) Don't place the pan on a baking sheet—you want the oven's heat to circulate through the Bundt's inner tube.
- Whisk together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, and salt.
- Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter, cut into 4 pieces, into the bowl, along with the chocolate, coffee, and instant coffee. Heat the mixture, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate are melted and everything is smooth and creamy—keep the heat low so that the butter and chocolate don't separate. Remove the bowl from the heat.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 2 sticks butter and the sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes—you'll have a thick paste; this won't be light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. The mixture should look smooth and satiny. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately, adding the dry mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
- Scrape a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and, using a rubber spatula, stir to blend thoroughly.
- If you want to go for the gingko pattern, scrape all of the white batter into the pan and top with the chocolate. If you want a more marbled pattern, alternate spoonfuls of light and dark batter in the pan. When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a table knife sparingly through the batters to marble them.
- Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the Bundt pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake completely on the rack.