Pipe Dream #108: To Declare War, Revisited – Vintage Walnut Loaf Cake



My sweet auntie gave me this cookbook, and I was like, “It’s been too long since I failed at whipping up egg whites.” All the recipes in it are old-school and technical, especially the frostings. Sea Foam Frosting, Honey Brown Sugar Meringue Whatever Frosting. I’m excited to try ’em.

Perusing on the plane between chatting to a guy who insisted on regaling me with stories of his backpacking excursions and how his girlfriend loved (guys, it is her favorite thing) to make red velvet cake and how he was trying to find a church in his new city, this walnut cake was the first one to catch my eye. It reminded me of a black walnut pound cake thing I had in England. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any black walnuts on hand (where can one procure these??), so I just used regular.

walnut cake



I did right by the egg whites this time, even folding them in carefully!, and the result was a perfectly crispity top layer to the cake.



My only complaint: the flavor was a little lackluster. Back in the 50s, they weren’t overdoing it on the salt, doubling the vanilla and adding savory spices like thyme to their cakes. Maybe next time, I’ll take baby steps and toast the walnuts or something.


Pearling at plane people,


Walnut Loaf Cake

Adapted from The Family Circle Cake & Cooky Cookbook circa 1953

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

1/2 chopped walnuts

4 eggs, separated, room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

Grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Cream shortening in a large bowl until soft. Add the dry ingredients, blend. Stir in the walnuts.

Beat the eggs yolks in a medium bowl until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in the sugar and almond extract. Add to the shortening/flour mixture.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until  stiff but not dry. Fold into the egg/flour mixture, being careful not to deflate the egg whites too much.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Let stand for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan about five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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