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. I’ve always heard that if you hear something 3x it’s time to listen, and even if it was a bit of an issue, I’m glad you posted – I’ve been wanting to try something like this! And for me, now, it’s the third time!

      • There were so many comments (how wonderful you have such a great following, and I can see why, you have a treasure here) I’m afraid I didn’t have time to read them all.

        Did anyone suggest oiling the bottom of the pan, adding in a round of parchment, then oiling and flouring that along with the pan?

        • Awww…thanks for your kinds words!

          Thank you for the suggestions, too! Flouring the pan was suggested earlier…but not the parchment. At the time of baking, dusting with the pan with flour did cross my mind…unfortunately, I chose to be lazy instead! Lesson learned!

          The second time I made the cake, it was easily removed from the springform pan…the cake molds, on the other hand, we’re a complete failure. I can guarantee I won’t bake this recipe in that pan again, lol!

  2. Being Italian I have a great relationship with olive oil. I love it so much, that every year I order at least 15 bottles directly form my hometown. How could I miss the opportunity to try this cake out??? It looks scrumptious Nancy! I hope you’ll have a great we!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, you must make it with your hometown olive oil. A cake like this would certainly be enhanced with such a special olive oil. I imagine it would taste like home. 🙂 Happy weekend to you!

  3. Oh Nancy! I can completely sympathize with you! I have had many disasters along this line, but hey, when life gives you lemons, just make … trifle! 😀 I am so glad you have shared your cake and your experiences with us here at FF! I am bookmarking your recipe and hope to give it a whirl very soon – it seems that the entertaining season is upon us and I have a lot of cooking to do! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 😀

    • So true, Julianna! Why I didn’t do that the first time around I’ll never know…I think my frustration led to “baker’s block”, LOL!
      I’m a big fan of fruity desserts, and this one exceeded my expectations in the taste department! Hope you enjoy your weekend as well!

  4. Oh you poor thing! I know exactly how you feel as I have made astoundingly ugly cakes and desserts before that I couldn’t in good conscience serve to people. Your efforts are so commendable to remake it, and I think you prove you could make it “pretty.” Also, the triffle fix-it is awesome. I actually like that idea a lot and prefer something like that to a whole cake. I might have to steal that idea. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ngan! And now that I’ve been sneaking bites and tastes of the two throughout FF…I think I prefer the trifles. Especially with the strawberry compote…the cake pieces soaked it up a little and gave the cake a whole new flavor. 🙂 Steal away!

  5. Awesome looking cake, Nancy.I too have suffered from those infernal cake molds that seem to adhere to the batter as soon as they’re baked. What I’ve come to do now is grease the pans (to kingdom come lol), then sprinkle some flour in the molds, move it around a little so that you have an even thin coating of flour, then tap the excess into the sink. The flour should keep it from sticking. Happy Fiesta Friday 😉

    • Good tip, Jess! I did think to do that…yet skipped it anyways. Major bad on my part…though I must say, I wouldn’t have discovered the “walnut & olive oil cake, strawberry compote, chantilly cream trifles” if I had used the flour. 😉

  6. The first thing that popped into my mind while reading was the Italian cookies “Brutti ma Buoni” i.e. “Ugly but good” – and they are so very tasty indeed, no one cares how they look. Though your cake looks tasty and delicious! Love the combination of olive oil and walnuts. 🙂

    • I’m definitely going to research those cookies, Ronit, because I definitely excel at baking ugly things, Lol! They sound perfect for me. 🙂 As for the cake, I love the flavor combination. I need to have guests over, and soon, or my hips are going to suffer!

      • LOL
        They are meringue cookies with nuts. I make them a lot, but somehow never manage to get a good photo of them… 😀
        My solution for the “hip problem” was to cut the cake and place int he freezer, so it requires some extra effort to eat… However, by now I’ve learned to love frozen cakes, so now that’s not an option either! 😀

        • LOL – I guess it’s time to start giving food to strangers on the street! I’d probably learn to like the frozen variety eventually, too…or learn the quick defrost setting on my microwave. 🙂

  7. The cake looks absolutely delicious Nancy – sounds like you read as much as I do, especially cooking. That’s why it always pays to make a recipe twice especially when it taste so good 🙂 Yes, I vote for the cream on top!

    • The flavor this cake offers made it a winner…even if it did take a couple of tries! The Chantilly cream definitely elevates it to a new level. It’s a must! Thanks so much, Judi. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #37 | The Novice Gardener

  9. You mean like Groundhog’s Day? 🙂 Then, all the time! I also have too many déjà vu moments. But you know what never happened to me? A walnut olive oil cake! I’d say it’s about time, don’t you think? 🙂 I also have never tried Olive Loaf, the meat kind. You think I should? I promise I only ask YOU this kind of questions, Nancy, nobody else. 🙂

    • Yes! Like Groundhog’s Day…love that movie…and I love that you understand me, Angie!

      Olive oil cake is meant to be tried…baked and eaten. Heartily and happily.

      Olive loaf? Hmm…my first job ever was at a deli/butcher shop. One of my tasks was to slice olive loaf along with other luncheon meats and, in my opinion, olive loaf should not be on your bucket list of foods to try! Or head cheese for that matter, ewww. Never could figure out why “cheese” was in it’s name when it obviously had none. Just saying. 😉

        • Well your palate is much more adventurous than mine then! So on second thought…go for it…a slice or two of olive loaf may be just what you need. It’s just baloney and olives, right? And I happen to love mortadella – basically baloney and pistachios – and that sounds even stranger now that I think about it. :-/

  10. skd

    Gorgeous looking cake nancy 🙂 I don’t like my cake covered with cream. this one is just so right!! And awesome idea how you converted the broken pieces of cake into a trifle 🙂

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