Cuisine Fiend

orange walnut cake


Orange and walnut loaf cake with cinnamon and fresh ginger, that’s a wonderful combination of flavours. It’s made in a saucepan. It’s tender and buttery like a pound cake. And it disappears far too quickly!

orange and walnut loaf cake

I don’t trust people who don’t like cakes. I understand teetotallers, vegetarians; I get intolerances, preferences and aversions. I for instance hate mushy peas and curry. The Weather Man won’t eat mussels because he doesn’t like the way they look. Irrational, but forgivable. But cakes? How on earth can you not like cakes?
Cakes are better than chocolate because sometimes they can BE chocolate but don’t have to. Cakes are better than puddings because you don’t always have to use a spoon. Cakes can be eaten for breakfast, brunch and dessert (also for dinner if made of fish but perhaps I’ll skip this lame pun) (when did I ever skip even the lamest pun?).

easy orange walnut cake dan lepard

There’s no better smell in the house than when a cake is baking. It’s the highest point of a birthday, and of a wedding. You bring a cake round new neighbours to make them feel welcome. You bake a cake for a friend who’s been dumped or burgled or sacked. Coffee and cakes invite usually meets with more enthusiasm than cocktails and nibbles. Everyone likes cakes.

So if occasionally I meet or hear of a person who says things like: ‘I’d rather have a starter again’; ‘I prefer savoury to sweet anytime’ or ‘Do you want my piece of cake?’ I become deeply suspicious. What’s wrong with you? How can you not want cake? Everyone knows humans have a separate stomach for cake so however full you are, there’s always space for a little one. Especially cheesecake. Or sticky toffee.

orange walnut cake

I like the cakes that are really involved, with egg separation and tricksy folding; I like the bish-bash-bosh cakes too when you think ‘no way is this gruesome mix going to bake into something tasty’ and it does. I take exception only to those stunning looking, barely edible cakes – all fur coat, no knickers and what’s the point of them apart from decorative value?

dan lepard orange cake with walnuts and cinnamon

The orange and walnut loaf cake recipe here, posted a very long time ago on The Guardian website by Dan Lepard, doesn’t need an electric mixer, just a saucepan you mix the batter in. The only hassle is zesting and squeezing the oranges, but who would consider that hassle if there is a gorgeous cake in the making? I’ll just say that I made it on Saturday morning and by late Sunday afternoon it was gone, baby, gone…

orange walnut cake

Servings: 10-12Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 5 oranges
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 75ml double cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 325g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g chopped walnuts


1. Zest all the oranges, set the zest aside. Juice them to obtain 150ml of juice; that will be probably 4 of them unless super juicy.

grated zest and ginger

2. Place the sugar in a large saucepan with the juice; bring to the boil. Take it off the heat, stir in the butter, zest and grated ginger. Let it cool down for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter and line with parchment a loaf tin, 19cm long.

orange cake made in a saucepan

3. When the butter mix has cooled down, stir in the cream, whisk in the eggs, add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and whisk until smooth. Fold in the chopped walnuts reserving a handful for the top.

cake batter in loaf tin

4. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in the tin and then turn it out.

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