I, like most of you, find myself excited by local specialties while I’m traveling and I often come home with flavored oils, spices or syrups that then sit in my pantry or fridge for eternity. During our recent snow storms and freezing temperatures in Italy I decided enough was enough and I came up with a recipe to use some of the delicious hazelnut oil that we brought back from our Cycling the Dordogne Plus! the Vineyards of Bordeaux trip. The process brought back vivid memories of the trip and the walnut and hazelnut mill we visit on our loop ride from Sarlat. This centuries old mill still has some of its original machinery and continues to produce walnut and hazelnut oil using power generated from a nearby stream. It was the perfect escape from our dreary winter weather. I also learned that there is nothing quite like re-experiencing a familiar smell or taste to truly transport you to another place.
Here’s my recipe for a delicious light cake you can try, use either walnut oil or hazelnut oil, and mix in ½-1 cup of chopped nuts if you like a nuttier flavor and texture! You may choose to halve the amount of nut oil (especially if you also use chopped nuts) and substitute with canola or vegetable oil for the other half if the resulting taste is too nutty (although it wasn’t for me!)
Dordogne Hazelnut Cake
- 1 egg
- ¾-1 cup brown or white sugar (depending on sweetness preference)
- ½ cup hazelnut or walnut oil
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups flour (I used whole wheat, you can mix or use all-purpose white, or try a mix of flour and buckwheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly beat the egg in a large mixing bowl, then add sugar and mix well. Add the other wet ingredients, mix and then add flour and baking powder/soda. Mix all together and then pour into a greased angel food or other cake pan. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Once the cake is cooled you can sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Enjoy for dessert with a sweet wine (perhaps a nice Monbazillac from the same region), or with a café au lait as a nutty coffee cake in the morning.
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