Sponge walnut cake with white chocolate cream and prunes flambé – excellent author’s sponge cake recipe from Black Pepper Chef. Prunes, flavored with bergamot and brandy, walnut sponge cake and white chocolate cream – surprisingly tasty combination.
WALNUT SPONGE CAKE RECIPE
Ingredients (servings 8)
For the cake:
15 Walnuts (70 g)
4 large Eggs (whites and yolks separated)
130 gr Powdered Sugar,
2 tbsp. Hot Water
80 g Plain flour
1,5 g Baking Powder* (see the notes below)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
300 g Pitted Prunes
5 tbsp. Sugar
5 tbsp. Brandy
1 tea bag Earl Gray
For the white chocolate cream:
200 g White Chocolate
75 g Unsalted Butter
280 g Cream Cheese
270 ml Double Cream (whipping cream)
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1. Cooking prunes
- Brew strong tea in half a glass of boiling water, add 3 tbsps. of sugar, stir.
- Finely chop the prunes, pour over the tea, and add 2 tbsp. of brandy. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
- Drain the prunes liquid, keep liquid apart. Preheat pan without oil on high heat, throw the prunes in it. Evaporate the remaining liquid, add sugar. When the sugar has melted, add 3 tbsp. of brandy, set it on fire (alcohol will evaporate, leaving only the taste of brandy). Cook for 1-2 minutes, cool the prunes. [BE CAREFUL WITH OPEN FIRE! DO NOT LIGHT UNDER RANGE HOOD OR OTHER APPLIANCES FOR RISK OF FIRE, MAKE SURE THE AREA OVER THE PAN IS CLEAR. KEEP A LID CLOSE BY TO COVER THE PAN AND CHOKE THE FLAME IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG. DO NOT DO WHEN SMALL CHILDREN ARE AROUND, IT MIGHT BE DANGEROUS] If you are not sure, just pour the brandy and let it evaporate.
2. Making the dough
- Beat the egg whites until dense foam. Put in the fridge.
- Fry the walnuts in the pan without oil for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Grind the walnuts until fine but not oily, set aside until needed.
- Mix the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the hot water, dribbling it down the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the grounded walnuts over and gently fold to combine.
- Sift the flour into a bowl, and then sift again into the egg yolk and walnuts mixture. Fold to combine.
- Add baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt .
- Fold egg whites into the walnuts mix, a third at a time, along with the 1/2 tsp. of almond extract.
3. Cooking the cake
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Grease the form with butter (diameter 20 cm), sprinkle with flour. Pour one quarter of the dough into the form, smoothen with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes. Bake 4 identical size cake levels.
- Sift sugar evenly over the surface of the cake.
- Leave the cake to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
4. Making the chocolate cream
- Place the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Stir from time to time until melted, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Use a spatula to whip butter, until smooth, then add the cream cheese. Beat well to combine, then add the melted chocolate. Continue to beat until smooth before adding the double cream and 1/2 tsp of almond extract. Beat until the mixture forms soft waves.
5. Assembling the cake
- Soak the first cake level with tea, drained from the prunes.
- Use a small spatula to spread the white chocolate cream evenly over the surface of the cake.
- Place the prunes evenly on top of the cream, then put another level of cream.
- Put the second level of the cake and continue according to the scheme.
- Align the finished cake, slightly pressing on top, smear the side with cream, and remove the excess with a spatula. Decorate with cream, prunes, walnuts and orange zest.
- Leave to soak for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.
* A bag of baking powder means that you must see the instruction on the pack. In my country we have 2 types of baking powder: 1 bag for 500 g of flour (11g of powder in the bag), and 1 bag for 200 g of flour (11 g of powder in the bag), In this recipe we use 80 g of flour, so we need about 1/6 of the bag of first type (500/6=83 g of flour) ~ 3 g of baking powder. And we need about 1/2 for the second type of baking powder (200/2=100 g of flour) in will be about ~5 g of baking powder.
- The white chocolate cream can be prepared a day in advance and kept in the fridge; remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to use it, so that it softens up a little.
- You can grease the top of the cake with cream and sprinkle with walnuts or white chocolate.