This post is sponsored by California Walnuts. As always, all opinions are my own.
I’ve teamed up with California Walnuts to bring you some recipes over the following year (such as this chocolate walnut cake and these chocolate donuts). Over 99 percent of walnuts grown in the U.S. come from California’s walnut orchards, many of which are on family owned and operated farms that have been around for generations. Walnuts are nutritious and heart-healthy*, and offer 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per ounce. Walnuts are also the only nut with a significant amount of plant-based omega 3 ALA (2.5 grams/ounce). You can check out the CA Walnuts website for more nutrition info, research, tips for cooking with walnuts, recipes. This month California Walnuts is focused on reviving your lunch, and you can learn more about it here (and pick up some great tips for making lunchtime nutrious).
“We glean what is public primarily, but not exclusively, from media. We are asked to abandon much of mental, political, market, and now security needs. Part of the anxiety about the porous divide between public and private domains certainly stems from reckless application of the terms… There is private space (atriums, gardens, etc.) open to the public. And public space (parks, playgrounds, and beaches in certain neighborhoods) limited to private use. There is the looking-glass phenomenon of the “play” of the public in our private, interior lives. Interiors of our houses look like store displays (along with shelf after shelf of “collections”) and store displays are arranged as house interiors; young people’s behavior is said to be an echo of what the screen offers; the screen is said to echo, represent, youthful interests and behavior – not create them. Since the space in which both civic and private life is lived has become so indistinguishable from inner and outer, from inside/outside, these two realms have been compressed into a ubiquitous blur, a rattling of our concept of home.” – Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard
I appreciated Ms. Morrison’s words here on our concept of home and they gave me a lot of food for thought this week.
Walnut Snack Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (25g) walnuts, toasted
1 1/4 cup (179g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick | 113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce (30g) freeze dried raspberries
16 tablespoons (2 sticks | 227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (226g) confectioners’ sugar
1 cups (100g) walnuts
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
For the cake
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with 2-inch sides, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, sour cream, milk, and vanilla.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely ground.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, ground walnuts, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low until combined. With the mixer running on low, add the butter one piece at a time, beating until the mixture resembles coarse sand. With the mixer still running on low, slowly add half the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running on low, add the rest of the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 20 seconds (the batter may still look a little bumpy). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and use a spatula to mix the batter a few more times until completely combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan gently on the counter 2 or 3 times to help get rid of any bubbles. Bake 23-28 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and pulls slightly away from the sides and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper, remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake, and let the cake cool completely upside-down (this will help deflate any doming). Once cool, the cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frosted. When ready, frost the cake with the buttercream and sprinkle with candied walnuts.
For the buttercream
In the bowl of a food processor, pulverize the raspberries into powder. Sift the powder to remove any large seeds from the raspberries.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and salt. Mix on low until combined and then beat on medium for 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, mixing until combined, and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the raspberry powder and mix until combined.
For the candied walnuts
In a large skillet, stir together the walnuts, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt and the nuts begin to toast, stirring almost constantly. Once the sugar begins to melt, turn the heat down to low and cook until the nuts are lightly caramelized. Pour the nuts onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them cool completely before chopping into small pieces.
*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.