Soft Walnut Cake – Egg White Cake

Sometimes a recipe calls for a lot of egg yolks and you end up with a lot of unused egg whites. For me the culprit is pastry cream. Check out the 6 egg yolk recipe for pastry cream, part of the Crostata di cioccolato alla crema pasticcera.

It is such a waste to toss all those egg whites. I always try to make a complementary recipe that will use all of them. Sure, you could whip them up and make meringues but meringues never really inspired me so I have to be more inventive.

Here is my complementary recipe to pastry cream, a soft walnut cake, with a texture similar to a good sponge cake, it springs up when you press it down.

almond cake slice


  • 50 gr flour
  • 70 gr potato starch (or corn starch if you can’t find the potato one)
  • 2 tsp of cake backing powder
  • 100 gr butter
  • 200 gr sugar
  • 70 gr walnuts
  • zest of 1/2 orange or 1 lemon
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 pinch salt
  • powdered sugar


almond cake steps

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Cut the butter in small pieces and let soften lightly at room temperature.

In a bowl mix the flour, the starch and the backing powder. Add the butter and combine with the tips of your fingers (picture 1). There is very little flour, and that is the way it should be so, no worries.

Chop the walnuts thinly.

Add chopped walnuts, sugar and orange (or lemon) zest  (just the colored part not the white bitter one) to the bowl and combine.

Beat the egg whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff (picture 2). I always add a pinch of salt when beating egg white, I have been taught it makes them stiffer.

Add the egg whites to the bowl and incorporate slowly with a soft movement from the bottom to the top. You want to maintain as much as possible the air incorporated beating the egg whites.

Butter and flour a tube cake pan. Pour the batter in the pan (picture 3) and bake for 30 minutes.

Test the doneness of your soft walnut cake with a long toothpick, if after poking the cake the toothpick is clean the cake is done. If there is batter on the toothpick bake for 5 more minutes and test again.

Let cool and remove from the pan. Dust your walnut cake with powdered sugar and enjoy!

This cake is light and soft, very enjoyable for breakfast.


And since nobody is perfect and I am certainly far from being it. After I showed you the pretty pic of a slice of cake… here is what the entire cake looked like after fighting for a good 30 min to remove it from the pan. Basically the slice above, is the only one that came out in one piece :P

cake in pieces

Never trust pans that claim to be nonstick, always butter and dust with flour. ALWAYS!

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