feasting with friends

Chocolate Walnut Budino

Dessert… not a necessary delight.

But… dessert is a MOST welcomed delight!

budino1I don’t bake as often as I did in years gone by, and there’s a good reason… I’m a sugar addict. I LOVE sweets. I love chocolate. I love caramel. I love frosting and icing. I love sprinkles. I love it all… I LOVE me some sugar!

When a craving surfaces, I don’t necessarily need massive quantities of sugar… typically “a taste” will suffice. Just a nibble. Unless, of course, I’m having a bad day. Bad days demand cake for breakfast, cookies for lunch and pie for dinner. Thankfully, those days don’t happen often!

We don’t have dessert on typical days… days of just “immediate family” meals. But when we’re hosting guests for a meal at our home, dessert is a standard. Hmm…Why is that?  It’s not that I’m trying to fatten up friends and family. It’s not that I’m trying to “Wow” them. I think I serve dessert to guests to lengthen the meal… to… in a way… hold those guests hostage at our table!

In short, I want to create a feast for our friends. 🙂

budino4If you’ve gained any sense of who I am, or how I cook, you’ll know I’m not exactly Fancy Nancy. I don’t decorate cakes (I didn’t inherit that gene!). I don’t necessarily seek out trendy or expensive ingredients. I don’t prepare many Gourmet Magazine worthy meals.

I gravitate to comfort foods. Foods that bring back memories. Foods that make my mouth water. Foods that cure cravings. Foods that make me happy. Foods that make my family and friends happy. Foods that make me go Mmmmmm… (and hopefully the others at the table too!). I love recipes that are deep in flavor and short on prep time.

This budino is one of those recipes. I can tick off all the boxes… it’s comforting (chocolate always is!), it brings back memories of Italy, it’s mouth-watering worthy, it satisfies my sugar cravings and it makes people happy… or at least their taste buds! Bonus…it’s a breeze to make.

budino2This is a fabulous dessert to follow a meal that demands attention or lots of hands-on time in the preparation. It can be baked ahead of time and set aside until needed. Even the sauce can be made in advance. I simply re-heat it in the microwave before serving.

I’ve been told that “budino” actually refers to a sweet Italian dish, usually rich and creamy like a custard or pudding. If I’m correct, it defines this “cake” perfectly. It is rich and it is much like a custard or pudding. Mind you… not like a bowl of Jell-o pudding, dripping from a spoon…but like a baked pudding. Something that holds it’s shape and can be sliced in wedges.


This is a wonderful dessert to follow a meal anytime of the year…though I especially love it in the cold months of the year following a hearty stew or roast. Enjoy!

Chocolate Walnut Budino

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients for the Budino:
1 1/3 cups walnuts pieces, toasted*
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter (½ cup)
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for the Sauce:
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoon AP flour
¾ cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted*
½ teaspoon vanilla

*To toast the walnuts: Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Toast/bake in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes or until light golden brown; stir/toss once or twice during cooking time.

Budino Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch (1½-inch deep) round baking pan. Lightly grease (cooking spray is fine) the bottom of the pan and then line with parchment paper. Grease paper and set pan aside.

Place 1 1/3 cups of toasted walnuts in food processor and process until coarsely ground. Set aside.

Place the chopped chocolate and ½ cup butter in the top of a double boiler or heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (upper pan/bowl should not touch water). Cook and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and ½ cup of sugar with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened and frothy. Stir in the ¼ teaspoon salt and the ½ teaspoon vanilla, then the coarsely ground walnuts on medium speed. Fold in (low speed) the chocolate mixture just until  combined. Spoon into prepared pan. Spread/level with a rubber spatula.

Bake in the pre-heated oven about 35 minutes or until a toothpick(or cake tester) inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto wire rack. Remove and discard the parchment paper. Invert once more onto a serving plate.

Sauce Directions:
In a medium pan, melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour until combined. Stir in the cream, ¾ cup of sugar, and ¼ tsp of salt. Cook (stir often) over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 cup of walnuts and ½ tsp vanilla. Cool slightly. (If making sauce ahead of time: After preparation transfer the sauce to a microwave safe bowl, cover loosely and set aside. At serving time, heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until warmed sufficiently.)

To serve:  Slice the cake into 8 wedges. Place a wedge of cake on each serving plate and spoon warm sauce over the cake.





  1. Mmm, your cake looks divine, Nancy! I’m with you and your sweet tooth! If this were in my house, I would be eating it for breakfast lunch and dinner until it all disappeared! Great recipe!

  2. Your budino looks slightly crunchy on top and gooey in its centre – perfection. I don’t know this type. But it reminds me of the French Fondant cake, where they use hardly any flour (if at all). Love the sound of this with the coarsely ground walnuts. Shame I’m not baking right now! Pinned, for another time. 🙂

    • Thank you, Johnny! This is definitely a cake worth trying when you’re back in baking mode. I think I’ll give it a try with hazelnuts next time…just for a little variation.

    • I was right where you left me, Angie. 😬

      I’ll join the party eventually…just easing my back into the blogging world for now. Thanks for stopping by and chatting…It’s greatly appreciated!

  3. Ahhh, a girl after my own heart……I have a “sweet tooth” too Nancy, gosh it’s so hard to say no to dessert. For that reason, and that alone, I don’t make desserts either, unless I’m entertaining, then I’ll go all out :). Your beautiful dessert has everything that I’d love, chocolate, walnuts and all that yummy goodness. It’s very tempting, would love to try it out.

  4. Your first paragraph sums me up too! If I did not have a dessert for guests I think they would freak out and go searching through my pantry for something sweet 🙂 I was a cake decorator (mainly for the kids) but I also love this kind of comfort food. Yum – thanks for sharing!

    • Lol, I’ve had the same thoughts that my guests will freak out, Judie! I guess I just feel, when entertaining, that a meal isn’t complete without the final course…gotta have a sweet ending! I wish I could decorate a cake with ease, though I think lack of patience is half of my problem. I remain envious of those (you included!) who have that skill! Thanks! 🙂

  5. skd

    I alwayd feel that cakes shouldn’t be decorated Nancy. They should be eaten warm and out of the oven just like that. It should speak for itself. Shouldn’t take the help of fancy dressing to make up for the taste. Of course wedding cakes or party cakes need to be dressed otherwise when we are eating at home they should be just like this. Chocolate and walnuts are an amazing combination and this cake is fabulous 👍☺

    • Thank you, skd! I’m happy to hear others are in agreement (and skill level) with me in regards to home baking. If I need a fancy cake for a special occasion, I simply visit a bakery and buy one! 🙂 Until then, I’ll bake humble, yet delicious, desserts. 😀

  6. Nancy, I’m not much of a Fancy Fae either. I also gravitate toward comfort foods. I love everything about this budine (I learned a new word). Do you think cornstarch will work for the sauce instead of flour, to make it into a gluten free dessert?Your plates are gorgeous too. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Fae! Non- fancy bakers unite! 😉
      I’m sure corn starch can be substituted with excellent results allowing the dessert to achieve gluten free status. I may test that theory out next time I whip it up in my kitchen.

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