Walnut Cake With Persimmons and Pomegranate
This simple walnut sponge cake is quite versatile and keeps well. You can increase the spices to taste and substitute other nuts if you wish. Serve with a dab of whipped cream or crème fraîche and any kind of seasonal fruit. This fall version calls for peeled firm Fuyu persimmons and bright red pomegranate arils for a gorgeous splash of color.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ½cup/120 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1cup/130 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1cup/100 grams toasted, roughly chopped walnuts
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 2teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4large eggs, whites and yolks separated and at room temperature
- 1cup/200 grams packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
- ½cup/120 milliliters buttermilk or milk
- ½teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2tablespoons rum or whiskey
- 3or 4 small, firm Fuyu persimmons, peeled
- ½cup/80 grams pomegranate arils
- Crème fraîche or softly whipped cream, for serving
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform or cake pan. Place a parchment circle at the bottom of the pan and lightly oil the parchment. Dust with flour and shake off excess. Set the pan aside.
Step 2Place chopped walnuts in a bowl, and add flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Stir and set aside.
Step 3In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff, about 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, transfer the whites to a separate bowl.
Step 4Put egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add sugar and whisk on low speed until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is thick and pale beige in color, about 5 minutes.
Step 5Beat in buttermilk, vanilla extract and rum, then slowly add the flour mixture at low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add 1/2 cup/120 milliliters olive oil and beat for a minute or so on low to combine. Using a rubber spatula, quickly fold in the reserved beaten egg whites. (First, fold in 1/3 of the whites to lighten the batter, then fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.) Scrape batter into the prepared cake pan, put the pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven on the middle shelf.
Step 6Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 30 minutes, then run a knife along the pan’s edge and invert onto a cake plate. The cake keeps well for several days.
Step 7Cut persimmons into small, 1/2-inch-thick wedges and put in a small bowl. Add pomegranate and a pinch of sugar, and combine. Let sit for just a few minutes.
Step 8Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Cut cake into wedges and serve with a spoonful of the fruit and a dab of crème fraîche or softly whipped cream.