black walnut cake

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Black Walnut Cake

Black walnut cake is definitely a treat! It’s not something that I run across often, but when I do, I love it! I didn’t really realize that black walnuts and regular walnuts (more formally known as English walnuts) were really all the different. Walnuts have a fascinating history.

English walnuts, originally Persian walnuts, can be traced back as far as The Code of Hammurabi (about 1754 BCE). Crazy! English walnuts are actually the most common kind. They’re more mild in flavor than a black walnut.

Black walnuts have an extraordinarily hard shell. Also the taste is much earthier, but that makes it tastier in baked goods, at least I think so. Black walnuts were prominently used by Native Americans. They’re known as California black walnuts even though they’re grown in the southeast of The United States.

Black walnut cake is a traditional cake. It’s very tasty and very homey. This recipe is delicious, and I think you’ll all enjoy it!


I love cakes! They’re so much fun to bring to gatherings and such whether it’s a potluck with family or a potluck at a local church gathering. They’re great, and they’re always a hit. This black walnut cake is a classic, and will be a hit no mater where you are!

Thanks to the folks at Taste of Home for this wonderful recipe!



  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups ground walnuts


  • 2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Add sugar; mix well. Beat in vanilla until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over the top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with walnuts. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

For more stellar recipes and great step-by-step photos, visit Taste of Home.

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  1. Mrs Hulsizer, the wife of a supervisor at Mack Printing, used to make a black walnut cake for a picnic every summer . It was for the Linotype workers at a church on Mauch Chunk Rd in Bethlehem probably 50 years ago. I still remember those picnics. Flynn’s Catering made the amazing food.

  2. It looks good, but black walnuts are one of those things that you either love or hate. I’m one of those people who find them icky. So if you do it with regular walnuts, I”ll try it.

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