Friday, November 18, 2011

Black Walnut Cake

Remember the black walnuts I harvested from our yard?  Today I finally got around to baking a black walnut cake.  I used a recipe my mother had clipped out of the Nashville Tennessean years ago.  The kids rolled in from college this afternoon, just in time to try it.  So far, the cake has gotten a mixed reaction.  One thumbs up (me!), one thumbs down, one thumb kinda sideways.

We decided to forego the butter cream cheese frosting, which might make a big difference in the whole experience, but at our house we tend to like naked cakes.  When a cake is left unfrosted, it offers more options.  You can eat it for breakfast, dessert, with ice cream, or, as my husband sometimes does, in a bowl with milk poured on it (that is just wrong!).

I remember the first time I had cake for breakfast.  I was ten years old.  My father was about to retire from the army and we were staying in transit billets in Germany, waiting for our flight back to the U.S. after a year in Ludwigsburg.  I guess there wasn't much in the way of kitchen facilities, but there was a kind of vending machine that sold chocolate and yellow marble cake slices.  My mother let us eat the cake for breakfast.  A new tradition was born!

Black Walnut Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter or shortening or half of each
3 eggs, separated
2 cups flour (I replaced about 1/3 cup with whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk (recipe calls for whole, but I used 2%)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped black walnuts
Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream sugar and butter/shortening until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks to mixture and beat until well blended.
In separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add alternately with milk to the sugar mixture.  Mix in vanilla and chopped black walnuts.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into the batter with a rubber spatula.
batter ready for egg whites to be incorporated and batter ready to go into the oven
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and center of cake springs back when touched lightly with your finger. 
Cool in pan on cooling rack 10 minutes.  Loosen edges with knife.  Remove from pan.

Black walnuts have a strong flavor, so this cake wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's something different and a good use for those walnuts that litter my yard every autumn!


  1. Lol, soggy cake! That is just wrong! I don't think I've ever had black walnut. That sounds interesting. I think buttercream frosting makes everything better though. Even for breakfast. :-)

  2. Wow! Your cake turned out so pretty! Mine completely fell apart. Cake for breakfast sounds fantastic! YUM! Naked cake definitely gives you more serving options, doesn't it? Although, with milk poured on top doesn't sound good to me. It just sounds soggy. BUT, I had a coworker who used to eat cake with BEANS. Now that's just plain weird! Soggy milky cake would be better than bean cake anyday.

  3. This looks delicious - funny, I'm actually sitting here eating Walnuts right now =)

    Pamela, from Blog Buddies

  4. I love walnut cake. Great that you could use your own black walnuts. I've never eaten cake for breakfast but I'm not saying I never will.

  5. About cake for breakfast, I figure it's not much different than eating a muffin or donut, and lots of people eat those for breakfast.

  6. I'm a huge fan of strawberry shortcakes for breakfast. A little out of season just now, but pour a little milk over that sucker and boom, breakfast it is.

  7. I've never been to a turkey farm before. I usually get mine from the grocery store of the beef mart. I'm looking forward to Thursday too. My daughter will be here from Delaware! mouth is watering from your walnut cake below. Looks fabulous!

  8. I'm an un-frosted cake fan as well. I don't know - too sweet, too distracting? Anyway, your cake looks scrumptious!

    Dough, Dirt & Dye

  9. yummy cake for breakfast. You know were I come from, sweets are generally not eaten for breakfast, but this sounds like it could be the exception. BTW, Im baking pumpkin hazelnut pie this week!

  10. This looks really good!! I'll have to try it soon!


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