The following post was written by Tanya Reda, my goddaughter, in memory of her mother Connie. Connie was my best friend since we both were 11 years old. She passed away from breast cancer at the age of 48.
Growing up, the walnut torta as we call it, was THE cake that was made for all family functions. To this day it remains a family favorite and the only cake my uncles ever talk about. I can still remember watching my grandfather sitting at the kitchen table grinding the walnuts with the hand grinder for my grandmother. I also remember that this cake was devoured within 5 minutes of it being served. It was so delicious that there was never any left at the end of the night.
I come from a family of bakers who are also foodies. My mother got her love of cooking and baking from her mother, which then blossomed even more with her friend, my Godmother, as they would exchange recipes, baked and cooked together. They shared many common interests and food was one of them.
My mother always had to try everything. I can still remember in grade school unwrapping my sandwich at lunch to find a bite taken from it. My mother would always taste our food before she sent us off with it; she even did this when we were home. Our food had to pass her taste and quality assurance test.
As I grew older, my Godmother shared with me many stories of my mother and her involving baking and food. From these stories and our bonding, my love for food came to be, and her and I now share recipes, bake together and talk about food, as she once did with my mother.
This recipe has been in the family for four generations, if not more. My grandmother got it from her aunt, she then passed it down to my mother and I have recently acquired this recipe. So after over 10 years of not having eaten the walnut torta, I finally asked my grandmother for the recipe, as I was unable to find it amongst my mother’s recipes. She gave it in the typical non-written down way as one would get from their grandmother, a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Upon receiving the recipe, I realized it was gluten-free as there is no flour, even better as I try to follow a gluten-free diet.
The walnut torta was well liked amongst my mother’s friends as she would make it for birthdays and get-togethers. So when I told them the news that I have the recipe, they all were anxiously waiting for me to make it. I decided to make it for friends and family at a brunch in honour of my mother’s 10th anniversary of her passing. A tribute, and my way of thanking her for sharing her passion.
The Walnut Torta Recipe
The torta is very simple to make and has only 5 ingredients. After a first successful attempt I can attest that it is a no fuss little mess recipe.
- 10 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 cups firmly packed finely ground walnuts
- 2 cups of whipping cream 35%
- ⅔ cups of icing sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- Set oven to 350°F. Grease three 8 inch round pans.
- Separate the 10 eggs. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer with paddle attachment, beat egg yolks for 2 minutes.
- Add sugar, vanilla, baking powder until well combined.
- Add ground walnuts one cup at a time until well incorporated.
- Beat egg whites in another bowl of a stand-up mixer with wire whisk attachment until soft peaks form. (If you only have one bowl, add yolk mixture to another medium sized bowl. Wash stand-up mixer bowl well before adding the egg whites.)
- Fold into egg yolk mixture.
- Fill each of the three pans with equal amount of the mixture. To make sure all three pans have equal amounts, weigh them each on a kitchen scale.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cakes cool before frosting.
- Wash the bowl of the stand-up mixer.
- Add the 2 cups 35% whipping cream,sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla.
- Whip with wire wisk attachment until peaks form. Make sure not to over beat the cream as it will become lumpy.
- Frost layers, sides and top of Walnut Torta.