Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Karithopita
Byzantine Walnut Cake
This cake is best-known by its Greek name; it is also popular throughout Turkey and Armenia.
Walnut tree
Total time: 3-¼+ hours
Cooking time: 1-¼ hours
Cooling: 2+ hours
Syrup
1-½ cups sugar
1-½ cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp. lemon juice
Cake
½ cup (1 stick) butter
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1-½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine 1-½ cup each of sugar and water, a cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and boil gently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the syrup into a metal bowl to speed cooling. Refrigerate the syrup until the cake is ready.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg yolks until smooth and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Blend the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture, then fold in half of the beaten egg whites. Gently fold in the ground walnuts, then fold in the rest of the egg white. Turn the mixture into a lightly buttered 9x12" baking pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out of the cake clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and poke small holes into its surface with a toothpick or cake tester. Pour the cold syrup over the surface of the cake; tilt the pan to distribute the syrup evenly. Let the cake cool completely and fully absorb the syrup before cutting into squares or diamonds.