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- Des, The Grommet
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Karidopita (Greek Walnut Cake)

My mother took some cooking classes when she lived in Washington, D.C. in the late 1960s, and one of the series focused on meals from various countries.  This is one of the recipes from that era, and one I happen to like.  So, when I was invited by a chef friend to a Greek Easter party I volunteered to bring the cake.

I’m not quite sure why things went wrong, but the cake stuck in the pan.  I carefully ran a knife around the edges and thumped.  Nothing.  Finally it came out in seven or eight pieces.  I was mortified as I worked with the chef and other chefs attending the party.  I pushed the pieces together as well as possible, but it was obvious that it was not quite as it should have been.

Got to the party and my chef friend showed me a Greek pastry that he had ruined earlier that day.  It looked worse than mine.  Then another chef arrived at the party.  I told him what happened, and he said, “What’s the problem?  It simply represents all the Greek Islands!

The Greek aunties at the party were impressed enough that they were asking one another, “Is she Greek?” So don’t worry if you end up with islands as well; it’s how it tastes that ultimately matters.


Karidopita (Greek Walnut Cake)




6 eggs, separated

3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

3 cups finely chopped walnuts

8 pieces zwieback, crushed fine

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Rum Syrup

1 cup honey or sugar

21/4 cups water

1 cinnamon stick

1 lemon slice

1/2 cup light rum

1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, beat yolks with sugar until thick and pale in color. Beat in vanilla extract. In another bowl, mix together nuts, zwieback, and lemon peel. Gradually fold beaten egg whites into yolk mixture and fold in nut mixture. Pour butter into a greased 13x9x2-inch pan and bake for 1 hour, or until cake tester comes out clean.

While cake is baking, make the syrup

In a saucepan, combine sugar or honey, water, cinnamon, and lemon. Bring to a boil, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

Immediately pour hot syrup over hot cake. Cover with aluminum foil. After cake has cooled completely, cut into diamond-shaped pieces.


Cake can be frozen, once it has been cut. Serve at room temperature.

Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

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