Here is a recipe that was inspired by a recipe for Pistachio Tea Cake that I have used for many years as a celebration cake. It is from a cookbook titled “Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything” by Andrew Schloss and Ken Bookman. An old friend gave me this book some twenty years ago and I still reference it for basic recipes. It is essentially a study of recipes each changed up a dozen or so different ways. I don’t think there is a complicated one in the entire book. The very nature of the book sort of beckons you to take liberties with the recipes that more serious cookbooks do not.
Part of my inspiration was found at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. I wanted to make the pistachio version, which by the way I have frankly always found to be on the dry side, and stopped in to get the necessary ingredients at which point I stumbled onto an interesting package of oils extracted from Pistachios, Walnuts and Hazelnuts. I added a good half a cup of the Pistachio oil to the Pistachio cake recipe and it cured the dryness leaving it moist and even richer in Pistachio flavor.
These oils are really great great quality. I remember several years ago picking up a bottle of pistachio oil in Paris and yes it was excellent quality and full of flavor; same goes for these! Anyway with the success of the pistachio version I couldn’t help but think of using the Walnut oil in the same way and replacing the Pistachios with toasted Walnuts. To brighten up the flavors I added a bit of citrus by way of orange zest. In all it has turned out to be a delicious alternative to the pistachios. The deep earthy flavor from the roasted Walnuts and the walnut oil lightened up a bit with the scent of the orange zest is pretty nice!
Orange Scented Walnut Cake
1/2 Pound Butter
2 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Sugar
1 1/3 Cups of Flour
1 Tsp. of Baking Powder
1/4 Pound Toasted Walnuts (Finely Ground)
Zest From 2 Oranges
- With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time scraping the mixing bowl down to keep the batter smooth.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder in three intervals.
- Stir in the finely ground Walnuts and the Orange zest.
- Pour batter into a greased and floured 9″x 5″ loaf pan and place in a 350° oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.