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Walnut and chocolate cake to celebrate

Today, in the early morning, I was at the gym, on a treadmill. I was listening to my favourite podcast, working out yesterday’s pizza, and I was brainstorming new ideas with my dear friend Regula, who was at home in Belgium, in her PJ’s, with a cup of tea. We are connected and on the same wavelength, we are closest friends, we met through the blog. That’s something I wouldn’t have imagined seven years ago.

Today Juls’ Kitchen is 7 years old. Tommaso and my dad are working in a garage to turn it into a kitchen, Juls’ Kitchen studio, with real tiles and cupboards, a big oven, a fridge, loads of cookbooks, a white ceramic sink, a bunch of shelves and countless chairs for guests and friends. Well, this is our project, as for the moment we have just piles of debris and a wall carved with conduit and marked with drawings. I smell dust, but as soon as I close my eyes the dry smell turns into the warming aroma of bread baking in the oven. While I am here at my desk writing this post I can hear the drill downstairs. In the past this would have made me mad, but today it is the most harmonic sound as it will be soon replaced by pots muttering on the stove or people chatting and laughing over a dish of genuine food.

Walnut and chocolate cake

Was I thinking about it since the beginning? When I wrote my first blog post in a winter night, was I imagining all of this now? Not at all. I didn’t have a clue, or long term project, I was just searching for something worthy of my total commitment.

This is a difficult post to write. It’s not time to make a balance, I learnt the hard way it’s not even healthy to make comparisons, as every one is destined to follow her own path, with a different rhythm, speed, itinerary. I am proud of how my palate expanded over the years, as when I started I was just a novice in the kitchen, never made a real polenta, never shelled fresh peas, never baked with chestnut flour, never carved a pumpkin, never ever catered forty people with an excited smile.

Tuscan countryside

Today I want to celebrate my stubbornness. I am putting aside for a moment my modesty, and I want to say that if I am here it’s not luck, it’s because I believed every single moment that I could make a difference. I didn’t lose my hope when I was jobless, when I was fighting my fear to be alone, when I was cooking till my back hurt.

I’ve been disappointed, I failed, I cried, I learnt. But today I celebrate my blog which just turned seven, a project of one person which became the life project of a couple, our life together, the upcoming Juls’ Kitchen Studio.

Walnut and chocolate cake

And I celebrate with chocolate.

This is probably the easiest chocolate cake I have ever made. It can be easily turned gluten free and dairy free if you skip the butter and breadcrumbs on the baking tin and substitute them with parchment paper.

It is a century old recipe, found in the loyal Pellegrino Artusi’s cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. It is made with just five ingredients: walnuts, dark chocolate, sugar, eggs and candied citrus peel. It has a brownie texture, but it’s a hundred percent Italian.

Will you join me in this celebration?

Torta di noci e cioccolato – Walnut and chocolate cake

Walnut and chocolate cake

Pellegrino Artusi
4.34 from 9 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings


  • 140 g of shelled walnuts
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 140 g of dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 g of candied citrus
  • Butter
  • Breadcrumbs
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  • Pellegrino Artusi suggests to paste walnuts and sugar in a mortar until fine. I took the short cut and added walnuts and sugar in a blender to obtain finely chopped walnuts, resembling a coarse flour. You don't want to have a smooth paste.
  • Scoop walnut and sugar in a bowl and add the finely grated chocolate.
  • Crack the eggs open and add the yolks to the bowl, stirring to combine.
  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold them into the walnuts. Add the finely chopped citrus.
  • Butter a 26 cm round baking tin and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, then scrape the batter into the tin.
  • Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and set.
  • Let it cool down completely before slicing. If you are strong enough to wait to the next day, it will be even better.
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JK Studio Colour Palette  Walnut and chocolate cake

This is the colour palette of out Juls’ Kitchen studio, I am overly excited, I can’t wait to show you the progress!

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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Congratulations — and your hard work is paying off. It isn’t easy but if you love what you’re doing then it doesn’t seem like work — more a labor of love. Your cake sounds so delicious. Frankly I don’t like a lot of frosting and embellishments on cake. I believe the dessert should speak for itself. Yours is shouting to me. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  2. Indeed your work is a great success—your blog is wonderful! Congratulations!

  3. How incredibly inspirational! Congrats for Juls’ Kitchen birthday. Your journey has been incredible. I can’t wait to visit Juls’ Kitchen Studio! Hopefully on April 25th 🙂

  4. Hi Giulia, Auguri for your blog’s 7th birthday. I am going to make your Chocolate and walnut cake on Thursday for the “consiglio” da “il Pagliaio” we are having a meeting and I wanted to serve something special with coffee before we begin. We hope to see you soon in Greve. Un abbraccio forte, Kirstie.

  5. Happy Blogiversary dear Giulia!
    Wow what exciting plans that’s wonderful and you are right to pat yourself on the shoulder and praise your hard working and believing that destiny would lead you to where you needed and wanted to be. xox

  6. Congratulations Juls, its been a great pleasure following your bolg after I found it by accident one day a few years ago
    Keep up the great work with your exciting nee project. You and Tomasso have a bright future ahead. I do hope to meet you both… One day.
    Fiona x

  7. 5 stars
    The cake is fabulous. I have made it several times to raves from my guests. I have come to dread the task of grating the chocolate – I get my cardio workout and a step closer to carpal tunnel from using a rotary cheese grater. Are there any tips from the wise as to a better way to grate the chocolate?

  8. I am so touched to read your story, the journey of blogging for the last 7 years. I recently started blogging and I share so many similar feelings, my back hurts often from cooking cleaning and taking pictures for hours. But I enjoy every bit of it. So glad to see your successful blog and your new garage kitchen sounds awesome. Good luck with everything! O am so excited to follow you.

    1. Hello Archana, you message arrived in a moment when it was much needed. Thank you taking the time to stop by and for your generous words. I know how tiring it can be, but it is undeniably rewarding. Enjoy the journey!

    1. Ciao Susie, I fear it would not work, as you would miss an essential fat component using just cocoa.

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I increased the amount of citrus peel, which is very nice if you use a high quality peel and enjoy the taste of orange

  10. 5 stars
    I’ve rated 5 stars because I know it will be outstanding. I love your blog, and often read aloud to my husband, Rocco. I am trying to inspire him to write. I want to make this for Christmas this year. How long will it keep or can it be frozen? Merry Christmas

    1. thank you so much, Deborah! how sweet it is what you are telling me! this can keep for a couple of days, so you can make it ahead of time!

  11. 3 stars
    Dear Giulia,

    I tried out your walnut chocolate cake yesterday. Since we don’t like candied fruit, we used the grated zest of an organic orange, which we soaked in a little bit of water and sugar for some minutes since otherwise it would have been too bitter. We added a little bit of that remaining “orange syrup” to the cake, and it turned out lovely, with a nice, fresh orange taste!

    I melted to chocolate to make my life easier since I made good experiences with this in other cakes also originally requiring grated chocolate.

    I have been skeptical about the cake not containing any butter and must say that I indeed find the cake a bit „loose“ respectively easily falling apart … I don’t know if that has to do with my melting the chocolate? Next time I will probably add some butter – maybe equally much as walnuts, chocolate and sugar (140g)?

    And congrats to your nice and inspiring blog also from my side, I love coming back here every once in a while! 🙂

    Best regards,

    1. Thank you Laura! Yes, I think butter would make a less crumbly cake, even though it would completely change the cake’s texture, but this is probably what you aim for! 🙂

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