Sunday afternoon is cake baking time - not every week, but it's become a bit of a ritual to try something new (and have cake to look forward to), the cake I've had in mind for the last week is Dan Lepard's Walnut Truffle Cake from last week's Guardian. Flour free cakes I've done before, but this one uses mascarpone instead of butter and doesn't ask for the eggs to be separated before whisking which saves a world of hassle in washing up and folding in of things. I'm keen on walnuts too - the slightly bitter earthy notes in them (Niki Segnit describes them as tasting brown along with cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, honey, and pears) make them much more interesting to me than pecans - it's nice that they're cheaper too.
It was Segnit's flavour thesaurus that prompted me back to walnuts after a prolonged flirtation with almonds and hazelnuts (once I cared about politics, then it was cloths, now it's baking - what will my forties bring?) and baking wise they've been fantastic; their oiliness does something good to a cakes texture and that slight bitterness balances sugary sweetness nicely. Every recipe I've used so far with them has been exceptionally tasty.
This one was a joy to bake - the ground up mix of walnuts, cocoa, and sugar is particularly pleasing - rather like especially nice soil. The mascarpone has a nice texture too and it's all quick to throw together. I used all dark chocolate because that's what I had, but next time I'll use some milk as well - with all dark the result is very rich and voluptuous - good with coffee or as pudding, milk chocolate will mellow it out a bit. The oven temperature was spot on as well, my oven is old and temperamental with a habit of running cool or suddenly taking me by surprise and developing a hot spot but for once the cake baked at the lower end of the estimated time range, and unlike a lot of dense flour-less mixes this one showed no sign of sinking. It would have been an absolute triumph if only I hadn't dropped it.
Fortunately the fall was short and didn't involve the floor but it was enough to comprehensively b****r it in terms of presentation or even the chances of sitting down with a nice slice. Happily I'm the sort of domestic slattern who can handle her cake in bits but it doesn't feel like an auspicious end to the week...