feasting with friends

Walnut Olive Oil Cake

Do you ever have those moments is life when the same thing keeps presenting itself to you? Over and over and over? Day after day after day? Maybe it’s a particular sequence of numbers. Maybe it’s a particular person you keep bumping into. Maybe it’s a cake.

Which is why I’m here today…presenting you with a Walnut Olive Oil cake. And did I mention it is flavored with orange zest and juice?

Walnut Olive Oil Cake

This flavor combination, in dessert form, presented itself to me at least 5 different times on 5 different days, all in the written, or rather, recipe form. Granted, I read…a lot. Newspapers, cookbooks, magazines. But darn it, a version of this cake was everywhere. Including my own blog. Yes, you read that right…here at feasting with friends. Linda, of La Petite Panière, did a guest post for an Algerian sweet, Khobz El Bey. Her particular cake uses almonds instead, but it has the orange flavor too! I wanted to make it then, but wasn’t feeling well enough to go for it…so here I am, many months later, making a slightly different version. This one is for you, Linda!

Walnut Olive Oil CakeIf you happen to live in the part of world where fall is settling in, the recipes we’re inundated with seem to be all about apples and pumpkin. This recipe had neither. And then it dawned on me…it also happens to be harvest time for both olives and walnuts, duh!

Makes more sense now! After all, the fall season has much more to offer than just apples and pumpkins. Thankfully.

I mean, couldn’t we all use a little variety? Yes, I love apples and I like pumpkin too. But if I’m gonna eat (and eat, I will), I want variety. This cake did it for me.

Until I made it…the first time. It was a failure with a capital “F”! And yes, that other “F” word flew from my lips a few times that day, too. I was making it to celebrate the birthday of a good friend. The first mistake I made was making it the day of the event. I was feeling a bit rushed between readying the house for company and prepping for dinner. Bad planning on my part. The second problem? The cake completely deflated in the center after baking. Just like a bad souffle. Just like a popped balloon. Urgh! Playing Miss Fix-It (after letting that “F” word fly from my lips) I decided I could cover up the flattened cake with a healthy dollop of Chantilly cream. Perfect! I did an inventory…heavy cream? √ … Grand Marnier? √ … sour cream? √ This cake would be saved after all…yippee!

Walnut Olive Oil CakeUntil I removed it from the pan. 😦 Urgh! What the heck? (insert that “F” word) The cake was baked in a springform pan and even though I greased and slicked that thing to kingdom come, the sides of the cake remained attached to pan…I had a mess. That would be problem number three.

I swore. I cried. I laughed. I sent Glenn to the store to buy a cake. I couldn’t serve it to the birthday girl. And then I tasted it. Oh my…it was delicious. It looked horrible, but darn it if it didn’t taste spectacular.

Glenn returned home and he sampled the cake…he loved it too. Regardless of the taste of my Walnut Olive Oil cake, we decided to serve the store bought one. After all, it was prettier. But do you know what? It tasted horrible, Lol. We just couldn’t win! Long story short, the birthday girl was sent home with a healthy helping of my ugly cake and she enjoyed it immensely with coffee the next morning.

Which brings me to the present day. I made this delicious cake again. I had to! I had to find out if I could make it “look” as good as it “taste”.

Walnut Olive Oil CakeThe only thing I did different this time around was the choice of pan (originally a 9 inch springform pan). I baked half the cake batter in a mini-bundt pan (each cake form was well oiled) and the other half in a 6 inch springform pan. And guess what? I was half successful. The cake didn’t flatten. It was removed with ease from the 6 inch springform pan. It wasn’t from the bundt pan…at all! Cue that “F” word!

Walnut Olive Oil Cake

Proof of my kitchen disaster. There’s no way these little cakes are coming out intact!


Walnut Olive Oil Cake

Miss Fix-It solved that problem….I made the disastrous cakes into mini trifles!


Oh the joys of trial and error! All I can say is if you like walnuts and you like oranges and if you like the idea of using a healthier alternative to butter when baking…make this cake. Just make sure the pan is well greased and a knife is “run around” the edges of your springform pan before removing the sides. And if the cake is torn to bits…make it into a trifle!

I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday over at The Novice Gardener’s. Once again, I send a hearty thanks to Angie for hosting this fabulous event! 🙂 Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine, are today’s co-hosts, thank you ladies. 🙂 Fiesta Friday #37 here I come.

Walnut Olive Oil Cake

Walnut Olive Oil Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

6 ounces chopped walnuts (about 1 ¼ cups)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
4 eggs
1½ cups sugar
Zest of 1 medium orange
Juice of 1 medium orange, about 1/3 cup
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Chantilly cream, optional – recipe follows
Fruit compote of choice, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch diameter springform pan with olive oil well, completely covering the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Process the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, until they are finely ground. Combine the ground walnuts, flour and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium, beat the eggs until they are frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is light, thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
  • Gradually add the walnut flour mixture. Add the orange zest, orange juice and olive oil. Mix just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool cake completely in pan on a rack. Run a knife around the edge of the cake/pan sides, then release the sides of the pan. Place the cake on a serving platter. Slice and serve with whipped cream and fruit, as desired.

Chantilly Cream

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons Grand Marnier
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons sour cream


•Refrigerate a medium size bowl and beaters until very cold. Combine cream, vanilla and Grand Marnier in the bowl and beat on medium speed 1 minute. Add the sugar and sour cream and beat on medium speed just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. [Caution – over-beating will make the cream grainy – so keep an eye on the clock and the consistency.]

This cake recipe was slightly adapted from The Detroit News.

Other variations of the cake recipe can be found here, here and here.

The Chantilly Cream is adapted from the cookbook, Chef Paul Prudomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.

Fiesta Friday #37


  1. Your cake sounds fabulous. Love walnuts, olive oil in cakes, and the rest is just icing on the cake. I know the frustration when you are in a hurry and things go wrong, but who says a cake has to be served in a mould?

  2. I love your idea of fixing the cake in the form of trifles! Gotta keep it in mind for when I next have a baking disaster 🙂 Love the flavors in this cake Nancy, it must taste wonderful 🙂

  3. I really like how you improvise. I can imagine how delicious this cake is. I have only had an olive oil cake once and have never forgot how wonderful it tasted. And it’s hard to imagine why in the heck it stuck to the side of your springform with not only oil in the batter but greasing the pan as well! I really like the look of the dollop of Chantilly cream in the middle. 🙂

    • Thanks, Seana… I wish the trifle came to mind the first time I made the cake! At least I know now that a quick run of the knife around the pan edge before releasing the ring is all that’s needed. 🙂

  4. Nancy, your Walnut Olive Oil Cake, looks very flavorful and absolutely tasty. Thank you so much and I wish I could share this delicious cake with you. I’m so glad that I met such a wonderful people in this community and you are one of them, Nancy 😉 How many disasters I made in my kitchen, one day the firemen came in my house in the middle of the night when I was living in Canada, because of my Pizza 😀

    • I’ve yet to have a visit from a fireman, Linda! I bet that pizza was not edible in the end. 😉 You need to share that whole story on your blog!
      I think you know you’re one of my favorite blogging friends too, Linda. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! ❤

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