Belula

Easy French Walnut Dacquoise Cake

A one-layer cake made with a walnut dacquoise cake base, topped with dulce de leche, vanilla bean Chantilly cream frosting and caramelized walnuts. An impressive dessert.

Belula May 07, 2021
The sliced walnut dacquoise cake seen from the side, showing the layers of dulce de leche and the Chantilly cream frosting.

What is a dacquoise cake?

It is a cake traditionally made with egg whites, powdered sugar, and almond flour, sprinkled with powdered sugar and baked in the oven. It can be used as a one-layer cake dessert, or it can be used as a part of a more elaborate French layer cake.

You can make it using many different nuts, as hazelnut, walnut, or even coconut, by replacing a part of the almond flour by the nut flour of your choice.

1 hand holding a spoon about to get a piece of the walnut dacquoise cake on plate in front of them, with another slice on a small plate on the side.
Closeup shot of the whole dacquoise cake as seen from above.

How to make this walnut dacquoise recipe?

To make this walnut dacquoise cake recipe you must simply:

  • If you don't have walnut flour (I didn’t), you can place the walnuts inside a Ziploc bag and using a rolling pin tap them until you have completely crushed them. You should obtain a crunchier walnut flour.
  • Mix the powdered sugar, the almond flour and the crushed walnuts.
  • Whisk the egg whites with a little of the granulated sugar until they are almost completely whisked.
  • Add the rest of the sugar and whisk at maximum speed until the egg whites form soft peaks. About 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Fold in the powdered sugar/almond flour/walnut mixture until completely incorporated into the batter. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, as the dry ingredients tend to go there.
Whisked egg whites inside a mixing bowl.
A plate with the powdered sugar, the almond flour, and the crushed walnuts.
Making the dacquoise cake: A bowl with the egg whites plus the dry ingredients about to be folded in and a spatula inside the bowl.
The dacquoise cake batter ready inside a bowl with a spatula inside.

Baking the dacquoise cake

  • Preheat the oven to 170 C/340 F
  • Place a 2O cm x 3.5 cm (8 Inches x 1.4 inches) cake ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the ring and the parchment paper using baking spray.
  • Pipe a base of dacquoise cake until you cover the bottom of the cake ring (about 1.5 cm high), then pipe an extra layer only around the inside border of the cake ring, so that the sides are higher than the centre of the cake.
  • Pro tip: you don't have to go as high as the cake ring, as the cake grows in the oven and then removing the ring might prove difficult.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar over the surface of the dacquoise cake and bake until golden and set. About 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack. Let it cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Run a knife between the cake and the cake ring, slowly and lovingly, then remove the ring and place the cake on a serving plate.

Pro tip: you can also bake this cake without the any cake ring, just by piping the dacquoise batter onto the parchment paper. The only difference is that you will obtain a thinner cake as it will not hold its shape in the oven without the help of a cake ring. It will be delicious anyway, just a little on the thinner side.

The dacquoise cake batter inside the cake ring placed on a baking sheet lined with brown parchment paper.
The dacquoise cake batter inside the cake ring placed on a baking sheet lined with brown parchment paper sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The baked walnut dacquoise on a wire rack, ready to cool off.

Tips to make the best Chantilly cream frosting.

Chantilly cream is made by whipping cream with a little powdered sugar. You can flavour it with different things, as fruit jams, cacao powder or as in this case vanilla bean.

To make sure your cream looks perfect, a few tips:

  • Place the mixing bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes before whipping the cream.
  • The whipping cream must also be cold, so keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Use full fat whipping cream. Using low fat cream will make it impossible to whip the cream and allow for it to hold its shape when frosting this cake.
  • Add the sugar in with the whipping cream before you start whipping it.
  • It is best to whip the Chantilly cream frosting when you are ready to decorate the cake. However, if you do this a little in advance make sure to keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Making Chantilly cream frosting: cream, vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl.
Chantilly cream frosting in the whisk.
Chantilly cream frosting inside a beige bowl with a spatula on the side.

How to make caramelized walnuts

For this caramelized walnut recipe, you must roast the walnuts first, they must be warm when you pour your sugar syrup over them!

To caramelize walnuts, you must:

  • Roast them at 170 C/340 F for about 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and slightly open the door, keep the walnuts inside, until ready to use.
  • Cook the sugar and water to 115 C°/240 F.
  • Add the walnuts in with the cooked sugar. Using a spatula, mix constantly until they have turned white.
  • Continue to mix. At this point, the white sugar coat around the walnuts will start to caramelize and turn brown.
  • Once they have all caramelized, remove from the stove and add the butter. Mix well. This will help to separate the walnuts and avoid them from sticking to each other.
  • Place over a silpad, or a piece of parchment paper and let them cool down at room temperature.
The whole dacquoise cake as seen from the side with a bowl with dulce de leche on the side.
One slice of walnut dacquoise on a plate with a spoon on the side.

Assembling this cake

Remove from the fridge and unmould the cake. Once you have unmoulded it you can assemble the cake. Simply:

  • Cover the cake with a thin layer of dulce de leche.
  • Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can leave the cake with the dulce de leche for up to 2 days in the fridge.
  • Make the vanilla Chantilly cream frosting.
  • Top the cake with the cream either using a piping bag or a small spatula.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Top with the caramelized walnuts and enjoy.
Ready to assembly: the dacquoise cake, the Chantilly cream frosting, the dulce de leche and the caramelized walnuts spread out on the table.
Assembling the walnut dacquoise cake: the dacquoise cake with a layer of dulce de leche after chilling, and the rest of the component around it.
Assembling the walnut dacquoise cake: the Chantilly cream frosting pipped on top of the dulce de leche layer of the cake.
Assembling the walnut dacquoise cake: one hand placing the caramelized walnuts on top of the Chantilly cream frosting.

Make ahead, freezing, storing this cake: some tips

You can make the dacquoise cake base ahead of time, then simply assemble it when you are ready to eat it. It keeps in the refrigerator, properly wrapped, for up to 5 days. And in the freezer for up to a month.

To defrost: Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped. Then unwrap and assemble as instructed in the recipe.

Once the cake has been assembled, you can keep it in the refrigerator, for up to 1 day, or 2 at the most. Whipped cream has a very short life 😊.

The sliced walnut dacquoise cake seen from the side, showing the layers of dulce de leche and the Chantilly cream frosting.
1 hand holding a slice of the walnut dacquoise cake on a white plate.

Variations

  • Mini dacquoise: by using smaller size rings. Then proceed as instructed in the recipe.
  • Traditional almond dacquoise: replace the walnuts in this recipe with almond powder and proceed as instructed.
  • Hazelnut dacquoise: replace the walnuts by hazelnut flour or crushed hazelnuts and proceed as instructed in the recipe.
  • Chocolate ganache: you can swap the dulce de leche with chocolate ganache Chocolate Mousse Pie.
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition: 400 cal
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Walnut Dacquoise Cake

  • Egg Whites (4 egg whites approximately) 120 g
  • Granulated Sugar 30 g
  • Powdered Sugar (plus 10 g for dusting) 90 g
  • Almond Flour 30 g
  • Walnut Flour (or crushed walnuts) 60 g

Chantilly Cream Frosting

  • Dulce de Leche 200 g
  • Whipping Cream 250 g
  • Powdered Sugar 25 g
  • Vanilla Beans 1

Caramelized Walnuts

  • Toasted Walnuts 100 g
  • Sugar 100 g
  • Water 20 g
  • Butter 20 g

Procedure

  • 1. Make de walnut dacquoise cake: You can place the walnuts inside a Ziploc bag and using a rolling pin tap them until you have completely crushed them. You should obtain a crunchier walnut flour. Mix the powdered sugar, the almond flour, and the crushed walnuts. Whisk the egg whites with a little of the granulated sugar until they are almost completely whisked. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk at maximum speed until the egg whites form soft peaks. About 30 seconds to 1 minute. Fold in the powdered sugar/almond flour/walnut mixture until completely incorporated into the batter. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, as the dry ingredients tend to go there.
  • 2. Bake the French dacquoise cake: Preheat the oven to 170 C/340 F. Place a 2O cm x 3.5 cm (8 Inches x 1.4 inches) cake ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the ring and the parchment paper using baking spray. Cover the base of the cake ring with the dacquoise cake batter (about 1.5 cm high) using a piping bag or a spatula. Then pipe an extra layer only around the inside border of the cake ring, so that the sides are higher than the centre of the cake. Pro tip: you don't have to go as high as the cake ring, as the cake grows in the oven and then removing the ring might prove difficult. Sprinkle with powdered sugar over the surface of the dacquoise cake and bake until golden and set. About 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack. Let it cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • 3. Make the caramelized walnuts: Roast them at 170 C/340 F for about 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and slightly open the door, keep the walnuts inside, until ready to use. Cook the sugar and water to 115 C°/240 F. Add the walnuts with the sugar Using a spatula, mix constantly until they have caramelized. Continue to mix until they turn sandy white. Continue to mix. At this point, the white sugar coat around the walnuts will start to caramelize and turn brown. Once they have all caramelized, remove from the stove and add the butter. Mix well. This will help to separate the walnuts and avoid them from sticking to each other. Place over a silpad, or a piece of parchment paper and let them cool down at room temperature.
  • 4. Assemble this easy dacquoise cake: Cover the cake with a thin layer of dulce de leche. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can leave the cake with the dulce de leche for up to 2 days in the fridge. Make the vanilla Chantilly cream frosting by whisking the cold cream, the powdered sugar, and the scraped vanilla bean to soft peaks. Top the cake with the cream either using a piping bag or a small spatula. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with the caramelized walnuts and enjoy.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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