28 February 2012

Walnut, Honey and Orange Blossom Cake

I do like cake, who doesn't?  However I am not a fan of overly sweet.    I do like a carrot cake but if slathered in inch thick cream cheese icing not so much, for me it is just too much.  Chocolate cake I can more often than not take it or leave it.  They never seem to be quite chocolaty enough and often a little on the sweet side.  For me the darker and more bitter the chocolate the better, Whittaker's Dark Ghana is a long time favourite and I want that wonderful bitter sweetness in my chocolate cake too.

I have also been trying to be a little healthier but then for me it does all comes down to balance and life is not worth living without a little of what you like and that should involve a little cake I think.  I came across this cake in Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.  It is full of tasty, satisfying and healthy recipes.  It's not rocket science, it pretty much advocates exercise, eating a balanced diet and cutting out all the processed rubbish that our bodies were never designed to consume.  

Unlike the ridiculous study just out of Otago University and it's list of 49 "needn't foods" that it deems unhealthy.  The list includes honey, butter, whole milk and ice cream.  It is not even the "needn't" foods that irked me most, it was some of the replacement foods; diet soda, sugar free cordial, lite instead of full fat, margarine instead of butter, artificial sweetener instead of sugar that really got my hackles up.  Yes great idea let's replace whole foods that our bodies can process with artificial toxic replacements ....genius!

Enough of my ranting...balance, moderation sprinkled with a little indulgence works for me and I say let us all eat a little cake.

Walnut, Honey and Orange Blossom Cake, adapted from a Jillian Michael's recipe.

Serves 10-12


1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
Zest of 2 oranges
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey, I used a mixture of clover and J Friend's Beechwood Honey*
1/2 tsp orange blossom water, it is optional but it does lend a wonderfully exotic flavour to the cake
2 eggs

*the Beechwood Honey adds a lovely depth of flavour but use whatever honey that you like.

You'll also need a 9" springform cake tin and a little olive oil and flour to grease it.


Pre heat your oven to 180C / 350F

Take a 9" springform cake tin and spray it with a little oil and dust it lightly with a little flour.  Just give it a gentle shake to coat the the base and sides and set it aside.

Place the toasted walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely ground.  Place the ground walnuts in a large bowl and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the orange zest.    Mix everything together.

In another medium sized bowl place the orange juice, olive oil, honey and orange blossom water.  Give the liquid ingredients a good whisk to combine well.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently fold everything together with a metal spoon until just combined, don't over mix the batter which will be quite loose.

Pour the batter in the prepared springform pan and pop in the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely. Remove the cake from the cake tin and place on a serving plate.  Dust lightly with icing sugar and a little sprinkle of orange zest.

On the side you can serve some yoghurt or cream mixed with a dollop of honey, some orange zest and just a drop of orange blossom water.

I love this cake, moist  and light, toasty walnuts and bright orange zest bursting through.  The honey adds a lovely deep rich, not overly sweet note making this more of a grown up cake and the orange blossom adds a little of the exotic. With a dollop of honey and orange infused yoghurt it is quite a treat.

This is my entry in to this month's Sweet New Zealand being hosted, this month by the lovely Shirleen over at Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice....thanks for hosting!

If you like this you might like this Plum and Lemon Cake
One Year Ago Roasted Beet Salad and Spicy Kumara Fries



  1. Totally agree with you about the rant (having just eaten a bowl of ice cream!). What an interesting combination of walnuts, honey and orange blossom - even sounds delicious. Would love to try it.

    1. And if I can bake it it must be easy! And what would life be like without ice cream??

  2. What a beautiful looking cake Mairi! And you know I'm with you on eating real, whole, unprocessed foods. How ridiculous that these so called "experts" are making these insane claims about foods we should have never started eating in the first place. Beyond sad.

    1. Thanks Emma, I know, I would have thought that Otago University would have had more sense!

  3. I really like the sound of this one

  4. I couldn't agree with you more, Mairi! All those artificial replacements are just nasty and I can't believe anyone would advocate eating them, especially in the name of health. This is a beautiful cake you made and I'd love a slice right now to go with my morning coffee.

    1. Thanks Hannah, Yes I can't abide all those artificial replacements, it's no wonder people get confused!

  5. A little of what you fancy is my motto too. This cake sounds delicious although I'm having to cut back on my baking for fear of an expanding waistline.

    1. Yes I am all for a little indulgence, life would be so dull otherwise!

  6. I would really like this - put it on the "to do" list for next visit.

  7. Pftt that list made me angry too - nothing like presenting such a prescriptive and restrictive list to anyone attmempting to improve their eating habits to make them feel utterly worthless for eating the way they (suppsedly) do now and to feel hopeless that they could ever adhere to such stringent rules. I've been craving honey and butter on toast ever since reading it. After reading your post with the mention of Floraditas the other week, I had to pay a visit. The gingerbread with caramel sauce was divine and I think I must go back for a proper breakfast.

    1. Thanks Honeythorpe :) Glad you like Floriditas. I have butter every day & am all the better for it rather than anything processed :) And a little honey every now & then I reckon can only be good for you...natural, unprocessed & completely delicious!

  8. I love cake and would happily scoff this with you. Nice vintage looking photos

  9. Gorgeous cake. I love the combination of honey, walnuts and orange - very delicious and very grown up.
    Sue xo

  10. I completely agree with your comments about the study - how in any way is that educating people to make the best choices? The cake looks delcious too, and a good example of how good things can also be healthy things.

  11. I really need to get my hands on some orange blossom water! This recipe sounds divine, can't wait to try it, it looks so good with a side dollop of yoghurt!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...