Happy Birthday BTWT!


Recipe updated, 22 December 2009!

Behind The Water Tower

Coffee cream version of the Babcia walnut cake.
Photo by Peter via Wikipedia Commons

(Click on picture to see original and details of licensing.)

On March 3 2008, one year ago, Behind The Water Tower was born. Today, at about 16.00 hrs. CET we also passed the milestone of 77,777 cumulative daily hits. We would like to offer our best wishes to all whose birthday falls on this day.

It is true that we had a brief gestation period on another blog engine, but when that crashed we restarted from scratch on WordPress.com. Our sojourn here has been a very happy experience.

We have posted 356 articles, we have enjoyed reading your 361 comments. As well as writing about railway matters, we occasionally drift off topic. So today, as a mark of appreciation to all our faithful readers, here is a cake recipe the like of which you have never tasted before.

Babcia’s Walnut Cake

Ingredients (cake)

400 grams peeled walnuts
2/3 tea mug (250 ml) sugar
8 fresh eggs
teaspoon of baking power

Chop 16 walnut halves into two. Retain these to decorate the cake. Grind the remaining walnuts so that a smooth walnut flour results. (Grinding small batches in a coffee grinder works best. If using a hand grinder it may be necessary to remove any larger particles larger than 2 mm with a sieve.) Carefully separate the yolks from the whites and then put the yolks into a mixing bowl, and using a mixer, thoroughly mix in the sugar until the sugar and yolk has formed a smooth paste. (Note, if you have been mixing for less than 5 minutes, and the paste is still yellow rather than pale cream – keep mixing!) Add the baking powder. Mix the walnut flour into the egg paste. (The mixture at this stage becomes quite stiff.) Beat the egg whites till very stiff. Very carefully and slowly mix in the egg whites into the yolk-walnut mixture, by hand, until a homogeneous mixture results. Pour the resultant mix into a cake pan lined and put into a pre-heated oven. Preheat an oven to 150° C, bake the cake for ten minutes at 120° C and then for about twenty to thirty minutes at 100°. After some twenty minutes, a wonderful cake aroma will fill the kitchen. Check progress by inserting a wooden stick or knitting needle to check if the inside of the cake is ready. (If no cake adheres to the stick it is ready!) When the cake is baked, cover with a clean dishcloth and leave in oven to cool slowly.

Ingredients (icing)

400 grams peeled almonds
1½  x 8oz packets unsalted Danish butter (375 grams)
½ tea mug (200 ml) icing sugar

Grind the almonds to a smooth flour. Cut the butter into small squares and thoroughly mix in the icing sugar. Finally mix in almond flour and mix till a smooth paste is obtained.

Cut the cake into 2 or three layers. Apply the icing in between the layers and over the top and sides. Decorate the top with the walnut quarters. Put in a cool place or fridge for about 4 hours to allow the icing to set.


We love this cake, but no warranty actual or implied is given. If you bake this cake and eat it, please don’t blame us if you become violently ill or addicted.  It should not be eaten by people allergic to walnuts or almond nuts.


This cake is great for birthdays and Christmas. If you are a weight watcher, bake this cake just before Lent so that you can then put in a period of serious fasting to eat up the calories!

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6 Responses to “Happy Birthday BTWT!”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    Happy birthday of yesterday, BTWT. (I wanted to say that in Polish, but my dictionary got into out-of-depth complicated and wordy realms…)

    • dyspozytor Says:

      Many thanks Robert for your good wishes. A very useful greeting which can be used on birthdays and feastdays is STO LAT (literally ‘100 years’).

  2. Robert Hall Says:

    Thanks. And nice and easy for spelling- and pronunciation-challenged non-Poles !

  3. Rik Degruyter Says:

    Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin ! Happy birthday, Dyspozytor !
    I am always looking forward to your next column. It makes my day !

    Any news about Czempin-Srem ? Interested in setting up a European funded project ?

    • dyspozytor Says:

      Hi Rik,

      Bardzo dziekuje za zycienia urodzinowe.

      I must say your Polish is very impressive.

      SKPL are already running fuel oil trains on Czempin – Szrem and are very interested in your proposal. Send me your landline phone number on railfan [at] go2 [dot] pl and I’ll give you a call.


  4. Qiana Wagatsuma Says:

    A nice recipe idea you have here. I am always looking for more ideas to keep the kids entertained and this one might just do the trick so thank you for sharing it.

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