Saturday, 29 June 2013


It's been really icy and rainy in Sydney... weather that makes you crave wintery and Christmas-y food (in a Northern hemisphere sense I guess. Christmas food here often means barbecue at the beach). I've also been trying to make lots of sweets and desserts myself, since I'm hoping to cut down store-bought food as much as I can, and really I can never get enough of baking anyway. It's so calming - your mind is not really thinking about much besides making sure you're getting the steps right, and it gives you this satisfying, pad-on-the-shoulder type feeling when you watch your ingredients change form, colour and volume, and come out of the oven as these perfect things that lift everyone's mood for the day.

So I reached out to one of my favourite any-day-of-the-week cake recipes again, from the Lottie + Doof blog that I so dearly admire. The orange and walnut mix takes me straight back to my childhood winters in Germany, and since I discovered baking with olive oil, it's become my preferred fat in cakes ("fat in cakes" sounds so classy by the way... not). It's a simple recipe yet delivers such a fulfilling product, and doesn't leave your kitchen as a bomb side after making it either. AND make sure you watch the egg and sugar mixture turn all creamy, almost custard-y; makes me all giddy thinking back. It's not the greatest looking fella but but no one will really think about it once they have their first bite.

So if you have a spare half hour with nothing to do one day, need an emergency cake that needs to impress (whenever that might be) or just simply want to warm your home and fill it with Christmas-y smells, please don't hesitate.

Orange walnut olive oil cake (slightly adapted from Lottie + Doof)

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (roughly 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel (roughly the peel of the two oranges used for the juice)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (I use oil out of laziness) and line with baking paper.

Grind walnuts in food processor until roughly ground, resembling breadcrumbs. Combine ground walnuts, flour and baking powder, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until frothy, around 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar, and beat until thick, creamy, pale yellow, around 4 minutes. Slowly add nut-flour mixture, then orange juice, peel and olive oil, mixing until just combined (if your bowl gets too full, use a spatula combine all in order to avoid splashes).

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool in pan before transferring to a platter (it doesn't need to cool completely, but while warm it needs to be transferred carefully as it breaks more easily); dust with icing sugar before serving (optional), or just dig in straight away like myself.

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