Walnut Cake (Torta di Noci)

This walnut cake is quick and easy to make, as you can just mix all the ingredients in the food processor. The only additional step that is important for the flavor is to toast the walnuts first. Cakes like this are often served for breakfast in Italy, but you can also enjoy a slice with tea or coffee or as a dessert. The cake is mildly sweet and has a nice texture. You can tune the aroma of the cake to your liking with a hint of orange zest, lemon zest, or vanilla.

For a gluten free version you can replace the flour with cornstarch. This will make the cake much more crumbly.


For 8 to 12 slices (24 cm / 9.5″ springform pan)

  • 200 grams (1 cup) walnuts
  • 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) cake flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 200 grams (14 Tbsp) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 grams (1 Tbsp) baking powder
  • grated zest of an orange, or grated zest of a lemon, or seeds from a vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • confectioners’ sugar (optional)


Toast 200 grams of walnuts for 8 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C/350F, and allow them cool.

Melt 200 grams of butter over low heat, stirring. Turn the heat off as soon as the butter has melted and allow to cool somewhat.

Place the walnuts in the food processor together with 200 grams of sugar and a pinch of salt.

Add the orange zest or lemon zest as well, if using.

Process until the walnuts are finely ground. Grinding the walnuts together with the sugar prevents the walnuts from turning into butter.

While the motor is still running, add 4 eggs, one by one.

Add the butter while the motor is still running.

Add the vanilla extract, if using.

Turn off the food processor, and add 200 grams of sifted cake flour, as well as 15 grams of baking powder.

Pulse until the flour has been incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not mix more than necessary.

Grease a 24 cm springform pan with butter and dust it with flour.

Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake at 160C/325F, not fan forced, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is slightly browned, about 45 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool off before slicing.

You can sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar (using a sieve) to make the cook look prettier.

Wine pairing

If you are having this for dessert, it is nice with a passito from Friuli, either a Verduzzo or a Picolit. The best Verduzzo is from Ramandolo DOCG. These passito wines from Friuli are aged in wooden barrels, which gives them a nutty aroma, and they are not too sweet.

9 thoughts on “Walnut Cake (Torta di Noci)

  1. Cake recipes are usually politely. shown the back door in his house but sometimes friends expect. a slice with their coffee . . . this one is so easy and promises taste!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, no, that cake looks so delicious, but, unfortunately, I’m allergic to walnuts. So it’s a no-go for me. ? Do you think it would be possible to prepare the cake with almonds or hazelnuts, too?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hungarians bake a lot with walnuts, such a lovely flavour. Toasting the walnuts really brings out their flavour. Great tip about adding the sugar to prevent the walnuts turning into butter.

    Liked by 1 person

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