Orange and walnut cake

Today,something for the weekend..... a warming and elegant walnut and orange cake based on a recipe from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson. The fanciest piece of equipment you will need is a ring mould (or a Bundt tin) and a mini-processor to chop the walnuts ( though you can always use a meat mallet wrapped in a tea towel to crush them by hand if you prefer…). The recipe is fairly close to the original but has already experienced one stage of tweaking from Paola of "Italy on my mind blog." I have tweaked it once more.The original Mimi Thorisson recipe suggests pouring dark rum over the cake ( once on the serving platter ).Paola added an orange to the cake and added a small glass of brandy to the cooked cake at the end of cooking. This tip is great and makes for a moist boozy slice or two. I twisted this and poured three tablespoons of our home made orange licore over my cake while it was still warm.This is a very good cake not just for afternoon tea, but as a pudding at the end of dinner.

Walnut and orange cake
150g walnuts, processed to a coarse crumb (plus 5 walnut halves for decorating the cake)
120g sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
1 tablespoon honey, plus one extra generous tablespoon for drizzling
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 small orange, zest only
45ml orange juice, freshly squeezed
pinch sea salt
60g plain flour
50g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
30-40ml brandy (optional)

Butter a 21cm ring tin or equivalent. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the walnuts and sugar in a large bowl and give them a good stir. Add the butter, eggs, one tablespoon of honey, vanilla, orange zest, orange juice and salt. Give it a good stir with a wooden spoon until homogenous.
Place the two flours and the baking powder in a separate bowl and give them a quick whisk to remove lumps. Tip the flours in with the walnut mixture. Give it a good stir until homogenous.
Carefully pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.
Place on a serving plate and drizzle the brandy on the cake (use less if you do not like it or omit altogether). Warm the remaining honey slightly and pour that onto the cake as well. Decorate with walnut halves and serve when the cake is room temperature.
Adapted from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson


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