It has been a weird winter in NYC with mild weather, punctuated by a "weather event" every now and then - like a few days of historically cold temperatures or a few feet (!) of snow that was gone in a matter of days. Call me crazy, but I love bundling up and crunching around snowy streets (I even like shoveling the sidewalk!) and I have been pretty bummed that we are getting all of the barren trees and grayness of this season without the blanket of fresh white snow every couple of weeks.
I have decided that the cure for all of this boring gray is a heavy dose of Technicolor in the form of fun and colorful baking projects . Last week, I posted some seriously gorgeous matcha glazed chocolate bundts and for this cake I returned to my old friend - the humble red beet. Just a spoonful of beet puree will tint a whole batch of glaze the loveliest pink hue, without much effect on the flavor. The walnut cake is the dense, poundcake sort that is still great after a couple of days on the counter, and is perfect with a cup of coffee.
Walnut Cake with Beet Tinted Glaze
makes one 4x10-inch or 9x5-inch loaf cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (280g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (100g) toasted walnuts, very finely chopped
18 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF and butter and flour a loaf pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts together in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing for 30 seconds in between each egg.
Combine the vanilla extract and milk, then alternately add the flour mixture and the milk in 3 additions. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that the batter is evenly mixed.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean 45-60 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack to cool completely. Glaze.
Beet Tinted Glaze
You can, of course, add more beet puree for a more saturated glaze. You may need to add a bit more confectioner's sugar to get the right consistency.
2 cups (200g) confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon beet puree
2 teaspoons lemon juice
seeds from one vanilla bean
2-4 tablespoons milk
Whisk the confectioners sugar, beet puree, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds together. Whisk in the milk, a couple of teaspoons at a time until a thick, but pourable glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set for about 30 minutes before slicing.