LAYERED WALNUT CAKE WITH ITALIAN MERINGUE & MASCARPONE FROSTING, FIGS AND SALTY CARAMEL
 
 
Author:
Recipe type: sweet - dessert
Ingredients
For the cake:
*(2 x 16 cm / 6.5 inch diameter pan)
  • 250 g flour 00
  • 150 g of walnuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • 200 ml milk
  • ½ sachet of instant yeast for cakes
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 ml natural vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ glass of Nocino*
  • A knob of butter to grease the molds
*Nocino is a traditional Italian liqueur made with green walnuts – You can alternatively use another liqueur such as Amaretto, or you can just skip it.
For the frosting:
  • 30 ml of water
  • 70 g of egg white
  • 140 g sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 250 g mascarpone
For the salty caramel:
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 200 g heavy cream
  • 100 g salted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 1 pinch of pink salt
To decorate:
  • 10 purple figs
  • 1 handful of nuts
Instructions
  1. Begin with salted caramel that can also be prepared the day before. Place the sugar into a medium saucepan over low-high heat, and let it caramelize without stirring until it has turned into a deep-amber fluid sticky liquid. Meanwhile, warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan without bringing to boil.
  2. When the caramel is ready, slowly pour into it the warm cream, stirring with a whisk and simmering the mixture for a minute until well combined and perfectly smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and add butter (at room temperature) continuously stirring with the whisk, then add a pinch of salt. Pour the salty caramel into a glass jar. Caramel thickens as it cools. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.
  4. Proceed with the cake, first buttering the molds and preheating the oven to 180°C. With a kitchen mixer, grind the walnuts to get a coarse flour and set aside.
  5. In a bowl beat with the electric whisk two whole eggs and two yolks (keeping aside the whites into another bowl) with sugar and a pinch of salt until the mixture is puffy and frothy. Slowly pour into the mixture the milk, the vanilla extract and all the spices, stirring to combine. Sift the flour and baking powder directly into the bowl, mixing well, to avoid lumps. Add the walnut flour you have previously obtained.
  6. Beat the two egg whites you have kept aside until stiff and incorporate them into the mixture, stirring very gently. Pour the mixture into the molds by dividing it into two equal parts, and bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes at 180°C . Allow the cakes to cool into the oven without opening it, and once cold, remove them from the molds and cut them in half to get four identical discs.
  7. Proceed by making the frosting by preparing the Italian meringue. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat and cook until sugar syrup registers 121°C on a kitchen thermometer. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in hot sugar syrup. Increase the whisk speed to maximum and whip until you get a stiff and shiny meringue.
  8. Separately, beat the mascarpone with the whisk, and with a spatula, add the Italian meringue a little at a time, stirring gently until well incorporated. Place the frosting in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the figs and cut them in half, or into slices.
  9. Lay the first layer of cake on a cake stand, and using a kitchen brush, slightly wet the surface with a bit of Nocino. Spread some frosting with the spatula, and cover with the second layer, then repeat until all the levels are completed.
  10. Use the remaining frosting to cover the cake, also on the sides, removing the excess cream with the back of the spatula.
  11. Pour a few tablespoons of salted caramel onto the cake, and let it drip onto the edges. Decorate with chopped figs and walnuts. Put the cake in the fridge 10 minutes before serving to let the caramel lightly thicken.
Recipe by The Freaky Table at https://www.zairazarotti.com/on-the-beauty-and-restlessness-of-solitude-a-layered-walnut-cake-with-italian-meringue-mascarpone-frosting-figs-and-salty-caramel/