What Is Black Walnut Cake?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Black walnut cake is a rich, decadent dessert prepared with black walnuts. The recipe can vary widely, though old fashioned black walnut cake recipes are generally spicy. The cake may be prepared as a loaf, a ringed bundt cake, or any other shape the cook prefers.


Prior to being used in a cake, black walnuts should first be chopped. They may be purchased chopped if preferred, or the cook can chop the nuts in the kitchen. Most chefs warn not to use English walnuts. Black walnuts must be used to create the signature flavor of this cake.

Cinnamon and cloves are used in old fashioned black walnut cake. Allspice is another common ingredient used to flavor the spicy cake. In addition to typical cake ingredients, such as flour and eggs, prunes are sometimes used in walnut cake recipes. More modern recipes may instead call for brown sugar and vanilla extract instead of the older spice ingredients. Some Midwestern recipes in the United States even call for smashed bananas. The

The cake is prepared similarly to most cakes. Its ingredients are mixed, then emptied into a baking dish. The order in which the ingredients are combined usually varies according to the specific recipe, and should be closely followed in order to create the most optimal dessert. The cake batter is then cooked in an oven per the amount of time called for in the recipe.

Once complete, the cake should then be allowed to cool before being frosted. Homemade frosting, made with sugar and heavy cream or any other frosting ingredients preferred, can be applied, though icing purchased from a store can be used as well. Many cooks adorn their black walnut cake with more walnuts as a garnish. Crushed nuts can line the entire sides of the cake to create a crunchy texture and elegant appearance.

Walnut cake can be layered if desired. The cake can be prepared as thin sections in round pans. Any preferred icing can be mixed with chopped walnuts and spread in between the layers to keep the cake together, as well as to add texture and flavor to the cake. Once assembled, the entire cake can then be frosted in the remaining icing without walnuts.

Serving suggestions for black walnut cake also vary. Some families eat the cake alone. Others may prefer to serve it alongside fresh fruit, or with vanilla ice cream. Rather than icing the cake, some cooks dust it with powdered sugar.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

@Azsazsa56 - In the past I have made a black walnut pound cake that turned out really moist pound cake usually doesn't dry out owing to all the butter that gets added.

Does anyone have a good recipe for black walnut cake? I have tried several in the past but never found one that I was completely satisfied with.

My problem is that the cake always dries out which doesn't compliment the crunchy nuts very well. I want a moist black walnut cake that provides a nice texture contrast to the nuts. Does anyone have a recipe that they like?


Black walnuts have been one of my favorite foods ever since I was a kid and of course I love black walnut cake. I know this might sound like overkill but I like to eat a big slice of the cake with a healthy scoop of black walnut ice cream on the side. I know that might sound like a lot of black walnuts, but look at all the chocolate that some people try to cram into a single dish. I don't think I'm that weird

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