Black Walnut Cake

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling


16 servings

Updated: Jul. 25, 2023
My mother's family members were all such excellent cooks who were known for their great hospitality. As a longtime family favorite, this old-fashioned cake was always expected to be on the menu at holiday dinners, special occasions and potlucks. —Elisabeth Garrison, Elmer, New Jersey
Black Walnut Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 cup chopped black or English walnuts
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-in. tube pan. In a bowl, toss walnuts with 1/4 cup flour; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; mix well.
  2. Combine baking powder, salt and remaining 2-3/4 cups flour; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in nut mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low speed over low heat until frosting reaches 160°, about 9 minutes.
  5. Pour frosting into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; add vanilla. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Spread over top and side of cake. If desired, top with additional walnuts.
Black Walnut Cake Tips

Can you use regular walnuts to make black walnut cake?

If you can’t find black walnuts, regular walnuts will work just fine. Black walnuts carry a more bold, earthy walnut flavor than their English cousins, but can be used interchangeably. If you find yourself with extra black walnuts after making this cake, try making black walnut cookies.

What other kinds of frostings can you put on black walnut cake?

This cake is served with a fluffy and light meringue frosting, but you can substitute your favorite frosting instead. Make a cream cheese frosting for added richness, or American buttercream for a quick fix.

How should you store black walnut cake?

Black walnut cake should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days, stored in a cake container or cake dome. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap up against exposed cake to keep it from drying out. You can also freeze your cake (frosted or unfrosted) for up to 3 months.

Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Associate Recipe Editor/Test Cook

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 448 calories, 18g fat (8g saturated fat), 86mg cholesterol, 241mg sodium, 67g carbohydrate (47g sugars, 1g fiber), 7g protein.