Hungarian Nut Cake was my mother’s favorite cake, as her hand-typed recipe below attests. I remember having it often at home growing up and it was her favorite to make for friends birthdays, potlucks, or other gatherings. I have a vision of her carrying this cake out to the picnic table in the yard for a gathering of the enlisted men’s wives when we living in California.
She loved hosting. She was not fussy, but warm and welcoming. She wanted everyone to feel at ease and at home and part of a community. Being a Navy wife, with kids while your husband was deployed for 8 months was no easy task. She felt duty-bound to look out for the other families in the squadron.
I made some changes to her recipe to make this dish, but it is an homage to my sweet Mother. I cut the recipe to 1/3. Her original made 3 8-inch Hungarian Nut Cakes to layer. I just needed a small bit for my plating, and my plating was just for 2, so even then I had cake left over.
Hungarian Nut Cake
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup of lt. brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup sifted flour
- 2/3 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 egg whites
- Crème the butter, lt. brown sugar and sugar together
- Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix completely
- Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are fine.
- In a separate bowl sift together the bread crumbs, flour, and baking powder
- Add to the butter mixture
- Add in the vanilla and milk
- Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl until they have stiff peaks
- Fold these into the mixture.
- Cover a sheet pan with a silicone pad or parchment.
- Spread the mixture out thinly on the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 325.
- Let cool slightly and then cut into 3-inch circles.
1 cup of Apricot puree (recipe below)
1 cup of whipping cream
¼ cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of lemon juice
- Mix the apricot puree, powdered sugar, and lemon juice
- Put the mixture through a sieve
- Add the whipping cream
- Pour into the siphon
- Shake 14 times
- Add where needed!
3 tbs sugar
½ cup of water
- Cook the apricots with the sugar and water for 20 minutes.
- Blend with an immersion blender.
- Cool to room temperature
- Start with a darker colored plate so that you can see the design
- Set your pattern (I had a wooden snowflake ornament) in the corner of the dish
- Carefully sift a bit of your dusting mixture over the snowflake
- Gently remove the snowflake
- In the top corner place a round of the Hungarian Nut cake
- Top this with the mouse from the siphon
- Add a schmear of the coffee butter cream frosting on the side, finish with some crumbled meringue for crunch and carefully place some whole walnuts and the small slices of dried apricot.
What about a Wine Pairing?
This paired wonderfully with the Hungarian wine we had. This was a Meinklang h17 Hárslevelü. The wine melded with the butter cream and pulling out the apricot in the dish.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.