It may seem unusual to be using self-rising flour together with baking powder and soda, but it works well, producing a light and airy cake.
For the cake:
1-cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. brandy or cognac
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup walnuts, coarsely ground (plus more for topping if desired)
For the syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1 small piece cinnamon stick
Juice of 1/2 lemon (strained)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 12 rectangular baking pan or a similarly sized round pan.
- Line the bottom of the pan with parchment to make it easier to remove the pieces.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs until they are a light yellow color, about 5 minutes. Add the oil, milk, and sugar and mix well. Add cognac, lemon zest, cinnamon and clove and mix until just incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda.
- With the mixer on lowest speed, incorporate the flour into the batter. Stir in the ground walnuts and turn off the mixer once the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in to the center of the cake comes out dry.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, water and cinnamon stick and bring to a low boil. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the lemon juice.
- Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Remove the cake from the oven and carefully pour the cooled syrup over the warm cake.
- This cake is traditionally topped with more chopped walnuts, but that is optional.