Chef's Recipes

Walnut and almond cake

A beautiful cake from The River Cafe, the landmark London restaurant where simple recipes like this have won legions of fans.

By Ruth Rogers & Rose Gray
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 8 - 10
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  • 380 gm softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 380 gm caster sugar
  • 380 gm blanched whole almonds, finely ground
  • 3 vanilla beans, very finely chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200 gm walnuts, finely chopped
  • 100 gm (2/3 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 125 ml amaretto
Chocolate icing
  • 200 gm chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids; The River Cafe uses Callebaut), coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160C, and butter and flour a 25cm-diameter cake tin. Beat butter and caster sugar in an electric mixer until pale and light (6-8 minutes). Stir in ground almonds and vanilla, then beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Fold in walnuts, flour and baking powder, then fold in amaretto. Spoon into cake tin and bake until a skewer withdraws clean (1¼-1½ hours). Set aside to cool briefly, then turn out onto a cake rack to cool completely.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for chocolate icing, melt chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until combined (3-4 minutes). Spread over cake with a hot, wet palette knife, cut into slices and serve.
  • undefined: Ruth Rogers & Rose Gray