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Greek Walnut Spice Cake

January/February 2010

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (72 votes)

A rich, flavorful syrup infuses this Mediterranean-inspired walnut coffee cake with the bright aroma of oranges and cloves. Heart-healthy olive oil and whole-grain barley flour add subtle complexity and texture to this nutty treat.



READER'S COMMENT:
"I made these as muffins instead of bread. Did not have barley flour on hand, so just used all white whole wheat. Cut brown sugar down to 1/2 cup. Cut walnuts IN bread down to 1/2 cup. (Saving a few calories with both these modifications...
Greek Walnut Spice Cake Recipe

Makes: 12 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Syrup

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 small strip orange zest (1-by-1-inch)
  • 2 whole cloves

Preparation

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square glass baking dish with cooking spray and dust it with flour, shaking out the excess.
  2. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast, stirring once halfway, until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour (see Measuring Tip), barley flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly blended. Combine yogurt with orange zest and juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth; gradually whisk into the egg mixture along with oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring well in between until just blended. Fold in 1 cup of the walnuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 45 minutes.
  5. To prepare syrup: Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup brown sugar, orange zest strip and cloves in a small heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring a few times. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes (you will have a scant 1/3 cup); remove the zest and cloves. Let cool.
  6. When the cake is done, transfer the pan to a wire rack. Using a toothpick, pierce the top in about 18 places and brush the syrup over the cake 3 or 4 times, allowing it to seep in each time. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts and let cool for 30 minutes; loosen the edges with a knife; cut into 12 squares. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store at room temperature under a cake dome or in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
  • Ingredient notes: Barley flour has a mild yet distinct flavor, which some describe as slightly sweet and malty. Barley is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores; it’s often available in bulk. Store in the freezer.
  • White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available in large supermarkets and at natural-foods stores. (Or find it online from bobsredmill.com or kingarthurflour.com.) Store it in the freezer.
  • Measuring tip: We use the “spoon and level” method to measure flours. Here’s how it is done: Use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the measuring cup.

Nutrition

Per serving: 294 calories; 14 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 36 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 18 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 215 mg sodium; 166 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (16% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 1/2 other carbohydrates, 2 1/2 fat



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