Walnut-Orange Cake

walnut orange cake

This is a Bon Appetit recipe, and I have changed it only slightly by the addition of vanilla and -- wait for it -- salt. But seriously: a cake with no salt? What the? I love making the batter because you don't have to cream any butter or anything; you just pour in the oil. Plus, you can get your kids to do most of the work of zesting and juicing the oranges and dealing with the pan. Easy peasy.

Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 to 10 servings


    1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
    4 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup fresh orange juice
    1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel (I used the juice and grated zest of 1 large navel orange)
    1/2 cup olive oil (I used fairly cruddy oil, but I bet it would be even better with great oil)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Powdered sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick olive oil spray. Place a parchment paper round in the bottom of the pan and spray the paper. (Birdy traced the bottom of the pan, then cut it out with scissors.)
  2. Grind the walnuts in a food processor (or blender) until finely ground but not powdery.
  3. Whisk together the ground walnuts, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until light, thick, and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the walnut-flour mixture, then add the orange juice, orange peel, olive oil, and vanilla, and beat just until blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  5. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet (a weensy bit of oil might leak out), and bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 minutes-1 hour; it will puff up and then sink, which seems to be okay.
  6. Cool the cake completely in its pan on a rack. Unless you want to pull it all apart into raggedy pieces, in which case you should try to remove the pan while it's still hot. Sift powdered sugar over the cooled cake and serve.

Read more about Catherine making Walnut-Orange Cake with her family.

See more recipes from Catherine Newman at her "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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