Sometimes I think I may have been Italian in my former life. Next to Asian cuisine, I have such a love affair with Italian cuisine. Everything from the way they take such pride and care for the foods they grow and produce, the simple preparation to allow the natural flavors shine and even the way they enjoy eating to savor every single bite... the Italians have such passion for food. I suppose you could say the same for other cuisines but there's just something about Italian cuisine that I truly love. Just as Julia Child is to introducing French cuisine to Americans, Marcella Hazan does the same with Italian cuisine. I've loved all of the recipes I've tried from Marcella's cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, including this one for Walnut Cake. Toasted walnuts make all the difference in this delicious cake, which goes perfect with a cup of tea... You can tell this recipe is good just by looking at the ingredient list. Butter, sugar, egg, rum, lemon zest, baking powder, flour and of course walnuts. This cake is slightly dense but yet, has a tender and light crumb. The nutty flavor is balanced with a hint of lemon. It's not overly sweet but just sweet enough to enjoy with a delicate cup of tea. If you wanted to jazz this cake up, add some chocolate chips, drizzle on either chocolate icing or warm caramel, maybe even fold in finely diced apples. The cake recipe below is delicious on its own or can work just as well as a base recipe to layer on additional flavors and textures.