Hungarian walnut cake deserves to be preserved. Yet it is often mistaken with another famously good Hungarian confection, the five layered Eszterházy. In the end, there are many claims to being an Eszterházy or walnut cake, but most often these cakes are a synthesis of two distinctly different types of cakes. The original walnut cake was made with cooked buttercream, but it was a buttercream nevertheless, and not a custard cream, which is the filling used in the Eszterházy. The other confusing element is what nuts to use, the Esztreházy is made with finely ground almonds and the walnut torte is obviously made with finely ground walnuts. Of these two cakes, neither has chocolate in them, or rum for that matter. Ah yes, there is a third cake, the Chocolate Walnut Cake, this also adds to the confusion.

My oldest cookbook lists every variation of walnut cake with ground walnuts and fine breadcrumbs with no additional flour in the batter. The newer cookbooks all call for flour. I favour using a little from both line of reasoning and I always add a little flour to the batter. Make sure the walnut cake is in three layers.

Internet recipes sometimes advise to roast the walnuts before grinding. Almonds and hazelnuts are fine, but roasting walnuts is not a good idea. I tried it, don’t do it because you won’t be able to sleep at night. There must be a chemical change in roasted walnuts and remember you are using a fair amount of walnuts in the cake and in the cream too. Interestingly none of my old Hungarian cookbooks advises roasting the walnut meat either. There has to be a reason for this. For grinding up the walnuts, you need a food processor or one of those small grinders with the bottle attached. Any other grinding mechanism is torture to use. Otto’s deli sells a Hungarian metal walnut grinder, I think I used it once with my husband’s help and then it went into the trash. I have no idea how they can justify selling them. In all probability, Otto never used one.

I suspect bakery walnut cakes have lots of fillers and this allows the lavish decorations on top. But this homemade version is rich already, so piping rosettes on the top would be too rich. A thin layer of cream is more than enough. Hungarian walnut cake is often the base for the sarokház dessert.

6 egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
8 Tbsp ground walnuts
3 Tbsp fine breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp flour
6 egg whites

Walnut Buttercream:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
10 Tbsp ground walnuts
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Spray the bottom and the sides of two round spring-form cake pans. {or 3 if you happen to have 3 same sized cake pans]
• Line the cake pans fully with parchment paper.
• Spray the top of the parchment lining with cooking spray and set aside.
• Beat the egg yolks with sugar for 4-5 minutes until very fluffy.
• Gradually beat in the ground walnuts, breadcrumbs and the flour.
• In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until very stiff peaks form.
• Gradually and very carefully fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter.
• Divide the batter between the cake pans. Divide equally if you have 3 pans. If you only have 2 pans, add twice as much batter to one of the pans.
• Bake the cakes in the preheated oven until cake tester comes out clean. The single layer will be done first.
• Let the cakes cool in the pan and then remove the parchment paper from the bottom.
• Cut the larger cake into two layers.
• Meanwhile make the walnut buttercream.
• Place the milk, sugar and 10 Tbsp ground walnuts in a pan.
• Bring to the boil and reduce heat.
• Cook the walnuts until milk reduces to almost nothing. Set aside to cool. Place in the fridge to chill.
• Beat the unsalted butter until very fluffy.
• Gradually add the chilled walnut mixture and beat a little longer until very fluffy.
• Place the walnut buttercream in the fridge for 15 minutes.
• Spread the top of each cake layer with walnut buttercream.
• Arrange the layers and spread the side with the remaining walnut buttercream.
• Sprinkle the sides with finely ground walnuts.
• Carefully place the cake on a platter and chill the cake.
• Slice and serve.


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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!