My dad's birthday is on February 8th and since I won't be home I decided I wanted to send him something. But what to send?
All the sudden this "genius" idea came over me, why not send some cake? I would make a cake and send him a couple pieces in Tupperware. But what cake to make?
I thought long and hard and decided that I would attempt to make the recipe I'd long held off on. Black walnut cake with coffee icing. Why such a strange cake you ask? My dad has long told me the stories of his grandmother making this cake for him every year as a child and how much he loved it. She even would wrap coins in wax paper and bury them in the cake for the lucky boy to find. Over the years I have searched for her recipe or some trace of it and I never have. So I resorted to using the internet and found a recipe for this unusual cake.
First of all I have never seen nor had a black walnut so when I got to the store and saw that they look just like regular walnuts but were more expensive I staved off my first instinct to buy plain old walnuts. And boy was that a good idea because they are most definitely different. They have this strange odor, one that I wasn't too keen on and the taste was somewhat anise like to me. But I forged ahead, determined to make this cake just as well as my great grandmother.
Here are my results:
I do not normally make cakes in baking dishes but my initial thought was if I made square pieces it would be easier to fit in a box and mail. However, when trying to cut through this cake and ice it in squares it was a challenge and the pieces turn out looking pretty sad but hey they taste good.
The cake was super moist and sweet which I was pleasantly surprised because after reading up on this cake I learned it is very easy to make it too dry. The icing was awesome and I will definitely make it again. Together it is a strange mix but it somehow works. I even hid a coin in one piece for my dad!
But overall I really love that for my dads birthday I could give him a piece of his childhood, literally. I love that food can remind us of certain times in our lives and more importantly certain people. And it also made me feel like I can pass something down from my great grandmother, even if isn't her recipe. This is the reason I bake.
Black Walnut Cake:
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cups white sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped black walnuts
Mix butter, sugar eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl
In another bowl mix flour, salt and baking powder
Add the dry to the wet ingredients intermittently with milk until combined. Then add the black walnuts.
Bake at 350 in 2 9inch pans or large baking dish lined with parchment for 35 minutes
Coffee Buttercream icing:
2 sticks of butter
1 cup powder sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee
Mix room temperature butter with powder sugar until it taste sweet enough for your taste.
In another bowl use 2 instant coffee packets and boiling water and mix until combined.
Add coffee to icing and combine