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I love recipes that have a past, they have soul and nostalgia and are usually fantastic due to the numerous times they have been made and modified. This cake is one that our mum makes whenever there is a birthday, picnic or in fact, any occasion. It’s on her short list of cake recipes and by far the one she makes the most. It’s certainly done the rounds of mum’s friends and friends of friends. The recipe, so the story goes, came from Doris the chef and owner of Art Ducko Cafe – Waiake beach, a cute and funky beachside restaurant that got it’s name from all the china flying ducks adorning the walls. Ingrid and I both worked there as waitresses prior to our OE and what makes me smile is that it’s taken 18 years to find out where the recipe for the cake came from. It’s a simple cake with an Austrian/German feel thanks to the sweet nutty crumble.

What you need

1  cup sugar
125 grams soft butter
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
250 grams creme fraiche
2  tablespoons milk

Walnut cinnamon crumble

2 x 70 gram packets chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

How to make

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and dust with flour a 9 cup 20 x 10cm deep bundt tin (or a 23 cm ring tin).

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the eggs and beat well. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and stir into the creamed mixture with the crème fraiche and milk – the mixture will be quite thick.

3. In a separate bowl mix together the walnut cinnamon crumble ingredients.
4. Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle over walnut and cinnamon crumble and top with the remaining cake mixture. Tap the cake tin on the bench a couple of times to get rid of any spaces between the layers.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake rack to cool completely.

6. Dust with icing sugar and serve with additional creme fraiche or whipped cream.

Preparation: 20 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves 8

Crumble variations

You can omit the crumble if you prefer
a plain cake.

Use almonds, macadamia or pistachio nuts
in place of the walnuts.

half nuts and half chocolate chips
rather than all nuts.

Use half nuts and half dried fruit (apricots, peaches, cranberries, cherries)
rather than all nuts.


Spend the time to grease and flour the bundt tin well as the decorative design can lend itself to the cake sticking.

Use a plastic spatula to loosen the cake from the sides of the tin if necessary.

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