Orange Walnut BreadPosted: 01/21/2013
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 the toasted walnuts and shiny orange glaze too. So, do I have your attention, sound good, huh?
Recently for reasons unknown to me, I decided that a 4pm each day, I was going to stop what I was doing and sit down and have a cup of tea. A quiet time to reflect on what I had accomplished in my day so far, and to contemplate what tasks were still on my agenda. It seemed so civilized to me. Certainly one couldn’t have tea without it being accompanied by a proper tea cake. One of my all-time favorites is this Orange Walnut Bread. It’s not overly sweet, and the bits of orange rind give it that fresh citrus-y flavor which compliments the earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts.
I really think that this new ritual of mine will help me to be more productive, or maybe I’m just kidding myself. Maybe it’s just another reason I’ve drummed up to eat more cake .
Orange Walnut Bread
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick), 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
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*
- Orange Syrup
- Orange Glaze
- 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.
*Toasting Nuts: I always like to toast nuts when I’m adding them to baked goods. Why, you ask? Toasting nuts releases their natural oils and gives them a deeper flavor. Toasting will make the nuts crispier too, giving your baked goods more texture. I place the nuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat. I constantly stir them with a wooden spoon because you don’t want them to burn. It takes about 6-8 minutes to toast them, you’ll start to notice a fragrant smell coming from them as they begin to toast.
Egg Whites: When beating egg whites, make sure there is no yolk in the whites or they will not become stiff. Also make sure your mixer bowl and utensils are completely clean and free of grease, butter or oil, as this will cause your egg whites not to become stiff also.