When I was a kid we ate Greek food occasionally, with lamb and feta cheese being favorites. My grandma Kaloutsis was well known for being a first class cook – I can still taste her garlicky, tomatoey clams and rice. I need the recipe stat! Besides baklava, the standout dessert was a sour cream cake with walnuts, soaked in simple syrup. My mother actually found this recipe in a Greek cookbook years ago and it was always a hit. Oh man, it’s moist, rich and delicious and easy to make. I’d kind of forgotten about it, but I’ve been asked to make a dessert for a posthumous birthday party and we’re going kind of Greek. Guess what I’m bringing?
Sour Cream Cake
2 cubes unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, well beaten
1 cup walnuts chopped fine
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp baking soda mixed in ¼ cup wine, whiskey, brandy, or orange juice
2 cups flour
Melt butter and allow to cool slightly. Beat butter and add sugar gradually, beating thoroughly. Add eggs slowly while continuing to beat. Add walnuts, sour cream, soda, wine, flour, and cinnamon and beat well. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake in 350° degree oven for 1 hour.
While cake is cooling make a simple syrup: boil 2 cups sugar with 1 1/3 cups water to form a syrup. Pour slowly over cake while warm. Feel free to poke holes in the cake with a toothpick to facilitate syrup soakage. Serves 15-20.
I think this time I’m going to throw a cinnamon stick in the syrup while it’s boiling and then cooling. This cake is really rich; resist the impulse to top with whipped cream. You don’t want to gild the lily with wretched excess.