Fruitcake haters may be converted by this cake, and those of us who like well-made bricks of the holiday treat will love this. It has that same density of flavor, packed into tiny bites full of lemon, fruit, and nuts. This cake is mostly made of walnuts; it is dense and packed with walnuts' rich, oily flavor. We added some golden raisins too for sweet juiciness, and poured a syrup made with Meyer lemons and honey over the whole thing.
When this sits, well-wrapped, for a couple days, the syrup infuses the cake with the peculiarly herbal fragrance of the sweet Meyer lemon. Serve it in thin wedges with extra syrup poured over it. This is one of our favorite cakes - it's becoming a holiday tradition.
Don't let the long name deceive you; this is a simple cake, made in just one bowl.
Meyer Lemon and Walnut Cake with Honey Syrup
3 cups walnuts
2 Meyer lemons
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup golden raisins
2 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup juice (from 4 lemons - supplement with water if not enough liquid to make 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9" springform pan. Grind the walnuts until fine in a food processor and set aside. Grate both the Meyer lemons.
Cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy. Add the eggs and beat on high speed until lightened and fluffy. It is very important that these are lightened and airy before adding the dry ingredients; any leavening the cake has comes from the eggs.
Beat in the flour, salt, ground walnuts, and Meyer lemon zest. Stir in the raisins.
Pour in the pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, juice the two lemons you zested for the cake. Zest two more lemons and juice them as well. Simmer all the juice, sugar, and honey until reduced by about half and syrupy. Stir in the zest.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes on top with a toothpick and pour about half the syrup over top. Cover. When the cake is cool, wrap tightly and leave at least overnight - it is significantly better the next day. Serve with any remaining syrup, reheated.