Orange-Chocolate-Walnut Torte

Preparation info

  • Makes

    12 to 16

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Olive oil is often used in baking in Greece, Italy, and throughout the Mediterranean. The oil keeps this cake moist. You have to use a mild-flavored oil, though, so that it doesn’t intrude on the other flavors.

Processing the orange zest with the sugar is a good tip to remember; it helps release all of the orange’s flavorful oils.


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 or 4 strips orange zest, coarsely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup mild (“light”) olive oil, canola oil, or other vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unbleached (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


    • Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour or spray with nonstick baking spray a 10-inch springform pan, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.
    • Place the walnuts, orange zest, and a few tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and process until chopped fine. Set aside.
    • Combine the whole eggs and egg whites in a large mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed until frothy. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture is very thick and pale in color, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat in the olive oil in a slow steady stream. Add the orange juice and the vanilla.
    • Stir the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the walnut and orange mixture. Fold in the egg yolk mixture until thoroughly blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
    • Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is firm to the touch when pressed lightly, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake, in the pan, on a rack.
    • Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife or small spatula. Remove the sides of the pan. Slide the cake onto a serving platter. Place the confectioners sugar in a small strainer and sift evenly over the surface of the cake. Serve cut into wedges.