Walnut Whip Cakes

These individual chocolate coated coffee cakes are my take on the legendary Walnut Whip treats which date back to 1910.  My granddad used to buy them by the box full when I was a child and we used to enjoy one each after a day in the garden and always on Saturday afternoons !


Start by making the cakes.  Lightly grease the moulds or use lining paste.  Beat together the sugar, vanilla and margarine/butter until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time.  Sift the flour  then fold into the cake batter.  Finally add the chopped nuts and coffee liquid and mix until everything is well combined.

Divide the mixture between the 12 moulds then bake at 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 355°F) for 16-18 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.  Allow to cool in the moulds before turning out onto cooling racks to go completely cold.  Leave them to cool flat side down.

To make the chocolate coating simply place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl then dissolve over a pan of barely simmering water until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is thin and glossy.  Alternatively, you can place all the ingredients in a non metallic jug and melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring between 20 second blasts.

I leave the cakes on the cooling rack then place a piece of greaseproof paper or foil underneath to catch the drips.  Pour the chocolate over the cakes making sure all sides are covered.  Leave to set.

To make the mousseline cream which is absolutely smooth and utterly delicious  I recommend using a temperature probe.  You will need two roomy mixing bowls.  Place the room temperature butter in one and the egg yolks in the other.  Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan then dissolve the sugar over a very low heat.  Do not stir the sugar in the pan, just swirl it around to make sure none is sticking or left un-dissolved.  Once the liquid is clear then turn up the heat and bring to a fast boil.  The syrup needs to reach a temperature of 105°C  (221°F) and this will take about 3-5 minutes.  Whilst your sugar is reaching its temperature start to whisk the egg yolks.  The yolks need  to be well combined  and when the sugar is at temperature, take off the heat and with your whisk still running carefully pour the sugar onto the beaten eggs.  Pour in a slow steady stream all the time continuing to whisk until the mixture is thick and mousse like and has at least doubled in size.  Continue to whisk until the mixture has cooled sufficiently so that when you put your finger in it feels neither warm nor cold.

Place your whisk then into the bowl with the butter and whisk until well creamed then gradually add the egg mousse to the butter – one to two large tablespoons at a time until all is incorporated then finally whisk in the liquid coffee .  Place your mousseline cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then pipe a swirl over each cake and top off with a walnut.   If your mousseline cream splits – do not panic !  Take a large spoonful, place in a non metallic pot and microwave for 5-6 seconds until liquid.  Turn your whisk on and pour this liquid into the separated cream whilst whisking continually.  The cream will return to its former glory.

TIP  1– For additional flavour toast the chopped nuts and the whole walnuts to enhance their flavour.  Use a small non stick frying pan to dry roast the nuts to a golden brown.  Immediately turn the nuts out of the pan onto a cold plate.  Don’t be tempted to leave them in the pan as the residual heat will burn them and they will be bitter and non edible.

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