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Cinnamon Walnut cake - and the story about the Finjan (פינג'אן)

A finjan as we know it in Israel is a small copper or brass coffee pot (my grandmother's had a bit of both in it) with a long handle which we make very strong black coffee in. Very finely ground fresh coffee is used to make what is actually known as Turkish Coffee.

Mix the coffee and sugar with cold water first in the pot. You "cook" the coffee on the stove with the sugar already in the pot (you have to have sugar in it, sorry no sweetener will taste the same) and bring it to a boil. At that point you remove the pot from the stove letting the boiling liquid simmer down for a second and put it back on and bring it to a boil again. You repeat this 3 times. You then serve it in a very small cup as a single serving with the froth that forms on the top.

Never stir the sugar after you serve it or the foam will dissipate. Serve a glass of cold water with the Turkish coffee.

The coffee grinds will settle at the bottom of the cup and you drink it until you get to that part, then stop. Otherwise you will get a mouthful of coffee grinds. You have to "learn" how to drink Turkish coffee.

That was a little lesson on how to make Turkish coffee thrown in with this recipe!

My grandmother Rosa used to wait until we finished the coffee and then turn the cup upside down on the saucer, waiting for a few minutes. She then lifted the cup and "read your fortune" from the remains of the grinds on the saucer. Each fortune would be a good one and oh, the excitement waiting to hear her tell it….I wish she could be here to tell me my fortune now....

I have grown up around my grandmother's Finjan which she brought with her to Israel from Egypt in 1956 and later on gave it to my mother. She may have been given it by her mother which is most likely as these kitchen tools were handed down from generation to generation. This would make this little pot over 200 years old.

I inherited it from my mother and I love using it to this day. The coffee tastes so much better made in this pot. The little green Turkish cup and saucer was from a set my mum had which I now use.

So there's a bit of everything in this little story.

And the walnut cake? It is the most delicious cake you might ever taste. So moist and airy, flavored with cinnamon, sugar and roasted walnuts.

It is even better with a cup of Turkish coffee made in a Finjan!



4 eggs

1 cup of sugar

1 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400 ml sour cream

2 cups plain all purpose flour - sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams)

½ teaspoon salt

Walnut mixture:

100 grams of melted butter or 3 tablespoons of canola oil

1-2 tablespoons flour, judge when mixing. You might need a little less or a little more

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a round 8-9" non stick cake pan with parchment paper.

Mix together the butter or oil with the sugar and cinnamon, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture should be fairly thick. If it is too dry add a little more oil or butter to moisten it. Set aside. Save the walnuts for now.

In a mixer, blend together eggs and sugar until you get a light and fluffy mix. About 3-4 minutes.

On a low speed add the oil. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix until all these ingredients are blended together. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until almost blended together. Finish by giving the cake batter a final light mix with a spoon. Over-mixing can cause the cake to become hard.

Pour the batter into your lined cake pan. Take a few teaspoons of your cinnamon mix and gently fold it into the batter with a sweeping motion, creating a marbled effect. See photos below.

Add the chopped walnuts to the remaining cinnamon mix and mix well. Spread the walnut mix over your cake batter that is in the pan.

Put your cake in the oven to bake for 30. minutes or until a toothpick pocked in it comes out clean and the sides are separated slightly from the edges of the pan.

Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan and slicing it.

You will impress everyone for sure with this amazing tasting walnut cake. Enjoy!!

Shabbat Shalom שבת שלום

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