Olive Oil-Walnut Cake With Pomegranate
Extra-virgin olive oil gives this easy cake richness and a tender crumb. The cake keeps well for several days, as does the syrup, so it makes sense to prepare it in advance. However, wait to add the syrup until the day you serve it.
- Serves: 10 persons
- ½cup/120 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1cup/130 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1cup/100 grams toasted, chopped walnuts
- 2teaspoon baking powder
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4large eggs, separated
- 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- ½cup/120 milliliters buttermilk
- ½teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2teaspoons orange zest
- ½cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- 1cup/240 milliliters orange juice (from 3 medium oranges)
- 1(1-inch) cinnamon stick
- 3whole cloves
- 1cup crème fraîche, lightly whipped cream or thick yogurt, for serving (optional)
- 1cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan or cake pan. Place a parchment circle in bottom of pan and lightly oil parchment. Dust with flour and shake off excess. Set pan aside.
Step 2Add the walnuts to a food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Place ground walnuts in a bowl, and add 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Stir and set aside.
Step 3In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. With a rubber spatula, transfer the whites to a sheet of parchment or to a separate bowl.
Step 4Put egg yolks in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add sugar and whisk on low speed until sugar is dissolved. Then increase speed and continue beating, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes.
Step 5Beat in buttermilk, vanilla extract and orange zest, then slowly add the flour mixture at low speed. Slowly add 1/2 cup/120 milliliters olive oil and beat for a minute or so to combine. Using a rubber spatula, quickly fold in the reserved beaten egg whites. (First, fold in 1/3 of the whites to lighten the batter, then fold in remaining whites.) Scrape batter into prepared cake pan, put pan on a baking sheet and place in oven on middle shelf.
Step 6Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack, then invert onto a cake plate.
Step 7Meanwhile, make the syrup: In a small saucepan, put sugar, orange juice, cinnamon stick and cloves. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Spoon half the syrup over top of cooled cake. Cut cake into wedges and serve with a dab of crème fraîche, if desired. Spoon more syrup over each portion. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.