This traditional “Karidopita” is a well-loved Greek dessert, full of all kinds of autumn spices and packed with healthy walnuts. In Greek cooking it is very common to bake with olive oil, adding an extra element of richness with healthy fats. Drizzled with its honeyed syrup, the cake is delicious on a cold evening and perfect for the upcoming holidays!
1 cup Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup whole milk
3 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely ground walnuts
1 cup honey
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
peel of one orange
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or a large round pan. Beat the eggs and 1 cup sugar together. Add the olive oil and milk, mixing well.
In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, and salt. Slowly add them to the egg mixture while gently whisking just until incorporated and most of the batter is smooth. Do not over mix! Fold in the walnuts gently with a spatula, then pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, prepare the honey syrup. Combine honey, 2 cups sugar, water, cinnamon stick, ¼ tsp cloves, and orange peel into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil while stirring. Let it continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely before removing cinnamon stick and orange peel.
When cake is cooked through, remove it from the oven. Poke small holes into the top of the cake with a toothpick, about 15-20. Pour all of the cooled honey syrup over the cake slowly, allowing it to be absorbed. Cut into diamond shapes and serve. If you like, you sprinkle any extra ground walnuts, some powdered sugar, and extra cinnamon on top. Enjoy!