Get ready to sink your teeth into a slice of pure indulgence with this aromatic Mediterranean-inspired Walnut Coffee Cake. The rich and flavorful syrup infuses this nutty treat with bright notes of oranges and cloves, taking your taste buds on a journey to the Mediterranean. With the use of heart-healthy olive oil and whole-grain barley flour, this cake not only satisfies your sweet cravings, but it also adds subtle complexity and texture, making it the perfect dessert for any occasion. Serves 12 and ready to be devoured!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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°.
- 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.
- 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.
- To prepare the 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.
- 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 flavour, 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 colour and flavour 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.