Mary’s frosted walnut layer cake

Hello series 6!  I’m in the home stretch.  In my mind Bake Off ended with the departure of Mary, Mel and Sue so I am working for series 7.  Don’t get me wrong I still watched the latest series and I didn’t hate the new hosts but is it really Bake Off without the Mary Berry?  Plus what is going on with Paul’s tan? I just can support his blatant disregard for SPF.  And with that I am embarking on the last of just 20 technical bakes. Did I say just 20? I have lost my mind. Luckily sanity is not a requirement for baking.

So we’re off, series 6.  Starting with a cake from the Queen herself.  Mary’s cakes are the only cakes that turn out for me.  Usually my cakes turn into dense pound cakes  but for some reason I always have a better result with a Mary Berry recipe.  This cake didn’t use the usual Mary Berry all in one method.  Instead I creamed the butter and sugar together before adding the liquids and then the flour.  I was a little worried when the eggs went in because things got a bit soupy.


The butter and sugar soup quickly turned into cake batter when the flour and walnuts joined the party.


I had my usual cake tin problems with this bake.  Insert eye roll here. I only had two 8 inch tins instead of the required three.  I had every intention of baking the two cakes and then putting the third in when the pan was free (although I was skeptical the leavening agent would still be active after waiting in uncooked batter for 40 minutes) but I got all the batter in the two pans.  Comfortably.  I think if you were to split it between three you would have three very flat cakes.

20171105_090526 (1)

While my two cakes baked I whipped up the butter cream.  Can’t go wrong with butter vanilla and icing sugar. Heaven! The boiled icing, not so much, but I can’t blame anyone but myself.  The last few bakes I have been slack about using the proper ingredients and this time I paid the price.  Instead of heading to my favourite Bulk Barn for caster sugar I used granulated sugar and after 10 minutes of whipping the icing over warm water I had a cloud of cooked egg whites with crystals of sugar running through.


Determined to get the rest of the bake right I carefully selected the perfect walnuts to caramelize.  If my icing was grainy I would at least have some model walnuts swimming in the sandy frosting.


With my walnuts carefully selected I started the slow process of making caramel.  Instead of burning my sugar, which is my usual MO,  I waited while the low heat did it’s job. As soon as I saw the amber colour I put the whole pot in an ice bath.  Caramel success!


Once all my components had cooled I began assembling the cake.  There was some cake surgery required since not all 8 inch pans are made the same.  My favourite part about cake surgery though is that it makes tons of snackable cake scraps.  Plus I got a sneak peak at the walnut distribution and it looked good!


I desperately wanted to cover the whole cake in the delicious butter cream and chuck the grainy boiled icing but I had to stay true to the mandate so I swallowed my pride, and several more cake scraps and got on with it.  A few swirls of the palate knife and some artfully placed walnuts later I was done.


The icing really detracted from the yummy-ness of the whole cake but if you ate around it the cake wasn’t bad.  But be warned with or without the boiled icing this cake is sweet. Like crazy, Oreo’s dipped in frosting sweet, and that’s coming from someone that once ate rainbow chip frosting out of the can and loved it.  I would be marked down for terrible icing but even Paul couldn’t deny my top notch walnut distribution.  I would say a pretty good bake in the end.

2 thoughts on “Mary’s frosted walnut layer cake

  1. Cake was moist and delicious, walnut distribution was perfect, butter cream yummy, caramelized pecans sweet and crunchy. it looked just like the photo. Loved it, thanks for sharing.


  2. It has a beautiful finish! The white colour is really dazzling.

    I loved the new series of Bake-Off. I know it may be utter sacrilege but I preferred Prue Leith as a judge to Mary – her sense of adventure and love of bold flavours. But I know a lot of people have a very intense affection for MB 😉


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