Today’s post is about a tea cake with tons of fresh citrus, sweet butter and eggs. But wait…there’s more! Act now and you get toasted walnuts and a shiny, orange glaze too. So, do I have your attention? Sounds good, huh?
I like this recipe because at 4pm each day I stop what I’m doing and sit down and have a cup of tea to reflect on what I’ve accomplished that day, and to contemplate what tasks are still on my agenda. What civilized person would have a cup of tea without a slice of a proper tea cake? This particular Orange Walnut Bread is one of my all-time favorites as it’s not overly sweet, and the bits of fresh orange rind give this cake it’s bright citrus-y flavor. The toasted walnuts add that much needed earthy crunch.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
grated rind of 1 large orange or 2 small oranges
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. What I find that works best is to melt a little butter and using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter inside the pan in all the nooks and crannys. Then dust it with flour, shaking out all the excess.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the 3/4 cup sugar gradually, beating until light. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and the grated orange rind.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the batter alternately with 1/2 cup orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently mix in the walnuts. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
Wash out your mixer bowl and dry completely. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them carefully into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on the middle rack and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until lightly golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
While cake is baking make the syrup mixture. When cake is done, using a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cake and spoon the hot syrup over the bread. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 granulated sugar
Combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a light syrup forms.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
3-4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
Place these ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or stir with a fork until you achieve the desired consistency for the glaze. If you like a thicker glaze add more sugar, if you prefer a thinner glaze, add more orange juice.