I’ve been teaching cooking classes at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, and recently we did a series on Italian regional cooking. One of the recipes that made an impression on me was a Tuscan Pine Nut Cake. Very moist and flavorful, this was the kind of cake to serve not just after a meal, but with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or with a glass of champagne for brunch. A simple cake, but it has a lot possibilities.
Being a chef and recipe developer, I couldn’t just be happy with that recipe. I made the cake again, but tweaked it here and there, and then went back and tweaked it again.
This is my version of the Tuscan Pine Nut Cake, not quite original, but so, so good.
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup moscato wine
- 2/3 cup turbinado or raw sugar
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- The night before you plan to make the cake place the currants and wine into a small bowl and cover.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan or 9 inch springform pan.
- In a mixer with the whip attachment on medium high speed, whip the turbinado and brown sugars, eggs and egg white about 5 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
- Lower the speed, add the olive oil, vanilla and almond extracts and salt, mix until just combined.
- Remove the currants from the wine, and add to the batter along with the flour and 2/3 of the pine nuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining pine nuts on top.
- Bake the cake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool cake completely before serving.