SMiLes by Meg

Walnut Halvah Cake

Fun fact for my Instagram followers (@smilesbymeg): while 76 of you took the time to watch my Instagram story in which I made this cake, only 24 of you could bring yourselves to like the post itself. I’m not really sure what that says about my respective video/photo editing abilities, but I think it means I have to work on my food photography.

Also, despite now having posted 7 different Ottolenghi recipes, I still haven’t been selected in his #IBakedOttolenghi compilations. Further proof that my food photography needs work.

Looks like I have my project for post-bar-exam life!

Even if I can’t take good pictures of it, this cake was is excellent. I’ve listed it under both bread and cake mostly for my own mental wellbeing, since I’ve been treating it as breakfast for the past couple of days, and I feel better about eating a “bread” for breakfast than a “cake.”

Also, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a halvah convert. The stuff is awesome. Still planning on making my own at some point, but decided it had to wait until after I got my Thermapen out of storage. Stay tuned.

But the cake. First, make the topping. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and then let it continue to sizzle for about 3 minutes, swirling the pan, until browned. Remove from heat and add the walnuts and cinnamon, stirring to coat. Divide into two bowls and add the dark brown sugar to one of the bowls. Stir to coat. Set those aside while you make the batter. First, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a bit at a time, beating until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in three additions to the batter, alternating with the sour cream, and beating after each addition. Try not to overbeat. Spoon about half of the batter into a 9×12 loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the walnut mixture that does not have brown sugar and break the halvah up over that. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the halvah. Finally, sprinkle the walnut mixture with the brown sugar over the top. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

And that’s it! When you cut into it, you’ll find a wonderful layer of goodness, and the topping is the perfect sugary crust.Store it at room temperature wrapped in aluminum foil.

Enjoy!

Walnut Halvah Cake

Ingredients:

Topping

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 6 ounces halvah, broken into pieces

Cake

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sour cream

Directions:

  1. Start with the topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue cooking while sizzling for another 3 minutes, swirling the pan, until browned and nutty.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in walnuts and cinnamon.
  3. Divide mixture into two bowls. In one bowl, mix in dark brown sugar.
  4. For the cake batter, start by creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add in eggs, a little at a time, beating to incorporate.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, and beating after each addition.
  7. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of a 9×12 inch loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the walnut mixture WITHOUT brown sugar over the batter. Sprinkle the halvah over that. Spread the remaining cake batter over the halvah. Top with the walnut mixture WITH brown sugar.
  8. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave in pan for 20 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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