Jeremy Lee's chunky walnut cake recipe is topped with sticky-sweet candied pecan nuts and served with both warm vanilla custard and a generous scoop of clotted cream – perfect for those who find it difficult to choose between the two! Using coarsely chopped walnuts in place of flour makes this gluten-free cake a fantastic dessert to serve those with wheat intolerance. Serving the cake without custard or cream would make it dairy-free, too.
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Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking parchment
For the walnut cake, beat the egg yolks, lemon and sugar together until pale and fluffy and gently fold in the nuts until partially combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks and gently fold a third through the walnut and egg yolk mixture. Once combined, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold through
4 large eggs, separated
1 lemon, zest only, finely grated
225g of caster sugar
350g of walnut halves, coarsely ground
Add the olive oil to the bowl and fold through, ensuring all the ingredients have been evenly and thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes
20ml of olive oil
Meanwhile, prepare the candied pecans. Place the nuts in a bowl and toss with the sugar, syrup and oil. Once evenly coated, pour the nuts across a baking tray and roast in the oven with the cake for 20–25 minutes. As the nuts will burn easily take care to ensure they don't burn, shaking the tray occasionally as they cook
400g of pecan nuts
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp of maple syrup
For the custard, combine the milk and vanilla pod in a pan and gently warm through. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar together until thoroughly combined
1 vanilla pod
150ml of whole milk
50g of caster sugar
4 egg yolks
Stirring constantly, pour the warm milk into the egg mixture. Mix well, then return to the pan and continue to heat gently, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens to form a custard. Pass through a sieve into a serving jug and keep warm until required
To serve, cut the walnut cake into even slices and divide between plates, pouring over a little warm vanilla custard. Spoon a generous scoop of clotted cream onto each slice, scattering over a few candied pecans. Dust the cake lightly with icing sugar and serve immediately with any leftover custard on the side
4 tsp clotted cream
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