1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
6 eggs, separated
2 cups ground walnuts
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
For the Vanilla Syrup, combine the sugar, water and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to disslove the sugar. Add the ciinamon sticks or ground cinnamon and vanilla bean or vanilla extract, reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
For the Walnut Cake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Soft together the flour, baking powder, ground cloves and salt. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl, until creamy. Add the egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, mix well, then stir in the nuts and orange zest.
Clean the beaters carefully. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched lightly with a finger. Remove from the oven.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean (if used) from the syrup and slowly pour it over the cake. It may seem as if there is too much syrup, but it will be absorbed by the cake in about 10 minutes. Cut the cake into 19 squares and serve warm or at room temperature.