Albanian Walnut Cake

This traditional Albanian dessert is everything and more you could ask for in a cake. It is not too sweet at all which can be a big turn off for most people when eating cake. Toast your walnuts in the same pan as you make your cake and do not rinse it. As the walnut toast they extract a beautiful oil that taste amazing mixed in with the batter as your cake cooks. I bet you can not eat just one slice of this cake!

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup laban
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, 3/4 cup sugar, butter, eggs, yogurt and laban. Mix well with a hand blender. In a 9×13 inch baking pan add walnuts and roast for 5 minutes in pre-heated oven.

2. Place toasted walnuts on chopping board and chop. Add walnuts to batter, mix well. Spray the same baking pan with cooking oil then add batter. Cook for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan on high heat add water, lemon juice and 1 cup sugar. Bring to full boil then reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes occasionally stirring. Set aside and allow to cool. After the syrup has cooled pour all over the top of cake and serve.

Yields: 12 servings

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