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Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake)

Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake)

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Karydopita (pr. ka-ree-dho-pee-tah) is a Greek walnut cake made with lots of walnuts and bathed in a sweet syrup.   The word “karydi” (καρύδι) means walnut and “pita” (πίτα) means pie.

Shelled walnuts image

You do not have to think hard what to do when you have a lot of walnuts.  What better than a traditional Walnut Cake, which will bring back childhood memories, as this is one of the popular Greek desserts.

Walnut cake with a bergamot fruit preserve and more walnuts image

Useful tips when making Karydopita

  • The eggs and butter should be at room temperature.
  • Use unsalted butter, otherwise omit the amount of salt added in the recipe.
  • The walnuts in the cake must be coarsely ground in order to give a crunch to the cake. On the other hand the walnuts on the frosting should be pulverized more. If you do not have walnuts, you can use pecans instead.
  • Before starting the preparation of the cake, prepare the syrup first in order to give it time to cool. You can also add it when it is tepid. Instead of making the syrup from scratch, I used leftover syrup from Bergamot preserve, which added an amazing taste to this dessert.  
  • Any leftover syrup from citrus fruit preserves will match and give its own distinct taste and aroma to this delicious cake!
  • A thinly peeled lemon peel is added to the syrup together with a cinnamon stick and cloves, to flavour the syrup.
  • Usually Greek desserts are drenched in syrup, which I don’t really like, so my karydopita is on the dry side. If you want it sweeter, double the amount of syrup!
  • Combine all the dry ingredients and have them ready.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff and place in the refrigerator.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until the mixture turns white and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks and gradually the brandy and mix for a further 10 minutes.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula and pour the mixture into a buttered, 25 cm diametre floured spring form baking tin.
  • Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 180oC for about one hour or until a knife or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • The baking time always depends on your oven. Do not open the oven, at least for the first 50 minutes to check if it is done.
  • Add the syrup and let the cake cool completely. Wrap the baking tin with cling film and invert the cake on a platter. This way the syrup will wet the cake on top as well. Let it sit for about half an hour, then remove it from the baking tin and add the frosting on top.
Karydopita with walnut frosting image

Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake)

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Karydopita (pr. ka-ree-dho-pee-tah) is a Greek walnut cake made with lots of walnuts and bathed in a sweet syrup.   The word "karydi" (καρύδι) means walnut and "pita" (πίτα) means pie.

Ingredients

  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 400 grams (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 180 grams (1 1/2 cups) coarsely crushed walnuts
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 50 ml Grand Marnier (or brandy)
  • 3/4 cup of milk

Syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups of citrus preserve syrup

or

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Thinly cut lemon peel from 1 lemon

Frosting:

  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 drop vanilla essence
  • 70 grams walnuts

Instructions

  1. Prepare the syrup: In a saucepan place sugar, water and lemon peel and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl mix the flour, the baking powder, the orange zest, the cinnamon and the ground cloves.
  3. Beat egg whites with 1 tbsp lemon juice, until stiff.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar until the mixture turns white and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg yolks and gradually add the orange liqueur or brandy and mix for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the milk and mix.
  7. Gradually add the flour alternating with the egg whites folding gently with a spatula until incorporated.
  8. Finally add the crushed walnuts and mix.
  9. Pour the batter into a well greased and floured 25 cm baking tin.
  10. Bake the cake in a preheated oven to 180oC for about one hour or until a knife or a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and while warm, pour the cold syrup gradually, until it is absorbed.
  12. Mix the butter, icing sugar and vanilla and spread on top of the cake.
  13. Sprinkle with more walnuts on top.
Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 493Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 84mgSodium 387mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 2gSugar 39gProtein 7g

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Collage Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake) with walnut frosting image

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