I just finished writing and editing my cookbook. And I just received this beautiful sack of fresh walnuts from California Walnuts. To make a treat to celebrate my completing the book, I decided to make the most decadent deep chocolate cake with the walnuts, and eat most of it myself.

Ok, that didn’t happen. It was what I wanted to do. But when I was invited to dinner tonite in our village, I realized I would have to share my decadent deep chocolate walnut cake with others. Which I am going to do with pleasure, because I took a taste of the batter when I made it and I know it is going to be wonderful. I put in two overflowing cups of walnuts and chopped them, so that the batter was full of crunch yet wickedly dark and smooth otherwise.

Here is a picture of the walnut cake. I may just have to make another one for myself! There are enough walnuts left. And you know what? I have no guilt! Walnuts are part of the style of cooking I learned when I lived in the south of France and is what I wrote about in my upcoming cookbook (Cuisine Nicoise). They are part of the Mediterranean diet, from where I lived, and they are healthy. And, come to think of it, so is chocolate. Perfect!!!


Adapted from: Glazed Chocolate Torte, Abby Mandel’s Food Processor Cookbook.

Walnut Chocolate Cake


  • 1 tablespoon
    white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 7 large
    eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 slices
    bread, crusts removed
  • 2 cups
  • 8 ounces
    semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon
    instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1 tablespoon
    baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon
    ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick
    unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon
    vanilla extract

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Generously butter a 10 inch springform pan. Lay a piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and butter.
  3. Mix the vinegar and water.
  4. Add the egg whites to a food processor, and process for 10 seconds. With machine running, add the vinegar mixture and process until the egg whites become stiff and hold their shape. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread, walnuts, chocolate, sugar, espresso powder, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the butter, process for 60 seconds. Add the egg yolks and process for 60 seconds.
  6. Add 1/3 of the egg whites, pulse 4 times. Add the rest and pulse just until mixed.
  7. Pour into the springmold and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before unmolding and frosting.

Deep Chocolate Frosting


  • 3 tablespoons
    butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 3 tablespoons
  • 4 ounces
    semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup
    confectioners’ sugar (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat the butter and water until bubbling and melted.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a food processor, process until well chopped, then with the machine running add the hot water mixture and process until smooth, adding more sugar or water to gain the spreading consistency you would like.
  3. Frost your cake!
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