Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chocolate Walnut Cake for Grownups

Happily brought to you by Victoria Abbott (aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini)

We use this cake for celebrations and right now we're celebrating the arrival of the audio version of The Christie Curse, the first in our book collector mystery series. Life has much to celebrate such as new books and good friends who share recipes.

We were introduced to this beautiful chocolate walnut cake when our good friends Rita and Arch visited from Connecticut last winter. Rita is a terrific cook and they brought this cake with them. We had a reunion dinner with old friends and it was the star of our party.

It takes about an hour to make (be warned!), but it’s a fun process and it is worth every minute.  This is probably a good time to mention that it is even better after twenty-four hours or after being frozen.  We find it’s a wonderful cake for a gathering of grown-ups and as it’s already been made in advance, it leaves you nice and relaxed. It has a rich sophisticated flavor, is not overly sweet and isn’t too high in carbs, although we admit it’s not low carb. 

Chocolate Walnut Cake  12 servings

8 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup granulated sugar, divided 
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups toasted finely ground walnuts, (that is a scant 2 cups walnut halves) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup good quality raspberry marmalade 
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar 
Whipping cream and berries (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. (I have taken to using parchment to line the pans as well.)
Crack 2 eggs into the larger bowl. Separate 2 more eggs, placing the whites in a second large bowl and adding the yolks to the bowl with the whole eggs. Separate the remaining 4 eggs, adding the whites to the other whites (reserve the 4 yolks for another use.) You should have 6 whites in one bowl, 2 whole eggs plus 2 yolks in the other bowl.  This will feel a bit like a math test!
Add brown sugar and 2/3 cup granulated sugar to the eggs and yolks and beat with the mixer at medium speed until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. 
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat in the toasted ground nuts and vanilla until combined.

Beat in flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon just until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. 
Clean and dry the beaters. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. 
Fold in 1 cup of the beaten whites with a rubber spatula until smooth, then fold in the remaining whites with very gentle arcs, just until incorporated (some white streaks may still be visible).

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Bake the cake until set, puffed and spongy but still firm, 40 to 45 minutes.  

 Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. As it cools, the cake will shrink away from the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan's side. Release the cake from the pan's bottom using a long, thin, metal spatula and carefully transfer it to a serving plate.  Slice cake horizontally. Gently lift off top. 

Spread bottom with raspberry jam.   

Replace top.  


Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

This cake is even better after twenty four hours. It also freezes beautifully.  

You can serve it with whipped cream and raspberries or by itself. 



Check out the Victoria Abbott book collector mysteries in audio.  The Christie Curse is now available.  A great reason to have cake!  We think Walter the Pug looks great on the cover. 

Order it here!

The Wolfe Widow, third in Victoria Abbott's book collector series, will be out in September, 2014.  

    Pre-order it here!

 The Sayers Swindle is on the shelves now.


You can click here to order The Sayers Swindle!

Or here for the Kindle version!

Or order through your favorite bookstore - in person or online.


The Christie Curse, the first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 to great reviews.

The Christie Curse is also available in Large Print! Tell your local librarian!

 Walter, the pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend. 

 Come over and friend Victoria on Facebook

Tell  her  you love the pug!

and check out Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Abbott


  1. MJ and Victoria - Chocolate + Walnut + Cake = Delicious. Yes, I'm doing the math and it adds up to a great recipe! Thank you for sharing it along with the announcement of The Christie Curse going into audiobook form. That is excellent news, and I love the cover for the upcoming Victoria Abbott mystery -- The Wolfe Widow (Love Nero, can't wait)!

    Have a lovely spring weekend,
    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo! Enjoy your weekend too.

      Glad you like the covers. We are reveling in spring here (means the snow is melting)

  2. Who gets to do Walther's voice on the audios? (just kidding)
    This cake sounds like simple sophistication. Lovely.

  3. Walter (aka Peachtree) should be self-narrating, Libby. Snuffle snuffle snort! Scratch scratch.



  4. Oh MJ, lovely! the raspberry layer is wonderful, and yes yes yes to the raspberries and cream! How I wish we all lived closer together so we could celebrate many wonderful turns of event! (or is it turn of events?) LOL xo

  5. Thanks, Lucy! It would be lovely to live closer and do our celebrating in person, wouldn't it? Sometimes it feels like we do, but then we realize it's a twelve (or twenty-four) hour drive,



  6. I guess Roberta is closer than Lucy!



  7. Congratulations on being on audio! It's very exciting!

    This cake sound so delicious. It's now officially on my absolutely-must-try list. I think it may become a favorite around here, too!


    1. Thanks, Krista. We are very excited about the audio and are waiting for the right moment to listen to our copy of the first one. Edits are due this week so much wait until next weekend.

      Glad you liked the cake recipe.