On a recent trip to visit family in Mondsee, a half hour drive from Salzburg in Austria, we stayed at a small guest house run by Frau Ferle. One day Frau Ferle made a nusskuchen (nut cake) to take with us when we visited my aunt. She made us check first though that my aunt had shlagobers (cream) at home because she insisted that the cake was too dry to eat without it. Actually, in Austria it seems that shlagobers is the usual addition to almost everything you eat. Well...we loved the cake...didn't even think of adding shlagobers...and lucky for me Frau Ferle was more than happy to share the recipe that had been handed down to her from her grandmother. And there's one thing I know about Austrian grandmothers, when they give you a cake recipe, you know it's going to be really really good.
4 eggs, separated
200 gms plain flour
200 gms sugar
100 gms ground nuts
125 ml sunflower oil
125 ml water
half a lemon, juiced
8 gms baking powder
20 gms vanilla sugar
Set oven to 180 C.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Mix water, both sugars and the egg yolks, slowly add the oil and mix together until the mixture begins to froth, add the lemon juice.
Combine the flour, baking powder and ground nuts.
Add this mixture and the beaten egg whites carefully into your egg yolk/oil mixture.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Frau Ferle made her cake from walnuts...I wanted to make it as soon as I got back to Australia...I only had whole almonds at home so I ground the almonds...I didn't grind them up real evenly and finely but left in lots of little coarser fragments because I like the texture that this gives the cake when you eat it.
Maria, my mother's childhood friend (left), Frau Fehrle (centre), and me