Spiced walnut & chocolate cake with poached quince

  • 3 hrs 45 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
  • Print


Spiced walnut & chocolate cake with poached quince
  • 450 gram walnuts, roasted lightly
  • 75 gram dark (semi-sweet) chocolate, grated coarsely
  • 1 1/2 cup (105g) fresh fine white breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 185 gram butter, melted
  • 500 gram mascarpone
Poached quince
  • 5 quinces (1.75kg)
  • 4 1/2 cup (990g) caster sugar
  • 3 cup (750ml) water
  • 2 cup (500ml) rosé wine
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthways


Spiced walnut & chocolate cake with poached quince
  • 1
    To make poached quince, peel quince, reserve half the peel. Quarter quince, do not core. Combine sugar, the water, wine and vanilla in a large cast iron casserole or saucepan with tight-fitting lid; stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add quince and reserved peel, bring to the boil; cover with a sheet of baking paper then cover tightly with foil, or a lid to ensure quince is submerged. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook 3¼ hours or until tender and a deep red colour. Cool quince in syrup.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 24cm x 34cm (9½-inches x 13½-inches) shallow rectangular cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
  • 3
    Pulse nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine nuts, chocolate, breadcrumbs, baking powder and ground spices in a large bowl.
  • 4
    Beat yolks and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add nut mixture; mix well. Fold in butter. Beat egg whites in a large clean bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold whites, in two batches, into nut mixture; pour mixture into pan.
  • 5
    Bake cake 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand cake 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely in the pan.
  • 6
    Strain poached quince through a fine sieve over a bowl. Remove core from quince; cut each quarter in half lengthways. Place quince wedges on a tray, cover; refrigerate until needed. Discard peelings and vanilla. Boil 2 cups strained syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat 15 minutes or until thickened. Cool.
  • 7
    Beat mascarpone and ½ cup reduced syrup in a small bowl with an electric mixer until almost firm peaks form.
  • 8
    Spread top of cake with mascarpone mixture; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the remaining reduced syrup. Serve cake cut into squares with quince.


Depending on the variety of quince used, some will turn more of a rusty red colour while others a deep crimson. Also, cooking time can vary between types, with some needing a little longer cooking to achieve a red hue.

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