This walnut cake is a moist and fluffy layered cake that is filled with crunchy walnuts! Made without eggs, butter, or milk, it’s an elegant yet simple dessert.
Each mouthful of this cake boasts a fluffy sponge with pieces of walnut and a creamy frosting that pairs exceptionally well with it.
Even if you are not much of a baker and avoid baking layered cakes, this walnut cake recipe is certainly something you can pull off with minimal kitchen skills!
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Perfect layers. This cake turns out to have the perfect layers. If you have always thought that layered cakes require advanced skills and technique, give this recipe a try.
- Easy and quick. Like a lemon olive oil, flourless chocolate, or orange cake, you don’t need to spend hours baking a cake. This walnut sponge bakes in less than 30 minutes. This gives you enough time to clean up the kitchen and make the frosting if needed. All you are left to do is to assemble the cake once the sponge cools.
- No eggs. Some people believe eggless cakes never have enough structure and height. This walnut cake recipe proves that you can bake a perfect cake with no eggs at all (just like our eggless cake and vanilla cake).
While this recipe calls for quite a few ingredients, there is nothing you won’t find in your pantry or fridge. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it.
- Flour. White all-purpose flour.
- Sugar. I use a mix of brown and white sugars for this recipe. You can use only brown sugar for this recipe if you are aiming for a darker sponge and a deeper caramel flavor.
- Baking soda. To create bubbles and help the cake rise.
- Cream of tartar. Combined with baking soda, the cream of tartar helps produce more bubbles and results in lighter cakes.
- Vinegar. To react with the baking soda. Adding vinegar to cake batters also results in a moist sponge. Use white or apple cider vinegar.
- Oil. Any neutral-flavored oil will work.
- Milk. Any milk will work though water will work too.
- Walnuts. Finely chopped.
- Cinnamon. A small amount of this warm spice is all you need to complete the flavor of this walnut cake.
- Vanilla extract. To make the flavor of the cake richer.
- Salt. To balance all flavors.
- Cream cheese frosting. Homemade or store-bought.
How to make a walnut cake
Making a layered walnut cake is quite easy if you use all ingredients in the right amounts and follow these steps.
Step 1 – Preheat the oven
Start by preheating the oven to 180C/350F degrees. Additionally, grease three 8-inch pans and set them aside.
Step 2 – Mix all ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, including flour, sugars, baking powder, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Next, add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Fold in the chopped walnuts until they are evenly distributed in the batter.
Step 3 – Bake
Distribute the cake batter evenly among the three greased cake pans. Bake them for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Step 4 – Cool, frost, and refrigerate
Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven. Remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely. Add a layer of cream cheese frosting between the cake layers and a thinner layer of frosting on top and on the sides of the cake.
Sprinkle the cake with chopped walnuts and refrigerate for around 30 minutes to allow the cake to firm up.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Don’t overmix the cake batter as it may result in a chewy and dense cake. Mix the ingredients just enough to get them fully incorporated. Over-mixing the batter may also cause the cakes to sink in the middle when baked.
- Make sure the cake layers have fully cooled before you start covering them with the frosting.
- While this walnut cake is perfect with a plain cream cheese frosting, feel free to experiment and come up with more flavor combinations. Skipping the frosting altogether is an option too as the cake tastes good in and of itself too.
To store: As this cake is frosted, it’s best to keep it stored in the refrigerator. When Stored in an airtight container, the cake will remain fresh for up to 2 weeks. As the cake is best enjoyed at room temperature, allow it to sit out for 20 to 30 minutes before serving it.
To freeze: If you have a lot of leftover cake and know you won’t be eating it anytime soon, cut the cake into slices and freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Whenever you want to eat the cake, transfer as many slices as you like from the freezer into the fridge, let the cake thaw and soften and enjoy.
More cake recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
The best way to prevent walnuts from sinking in a cake is to slightly warm them in the oven preheated to 350F degrees. Then toss the walnuts in flour and only then add them to the cake batter.
Yes, you can make this walnut cake gluten-free. Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free measure for measure flour.
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup walnuts finely chopped
- 2 cups cream cheese frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Lightly grease three 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients, except for the walnuts, and mix well. Next, add your wet ingredients and mix until combined and smooth. Fold through the walnuts at the end.
- Distribute the batter evenly amongst the three pans. Bake the cakes for 25-27 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool completely, before spreading frosting on them and layering them up. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set.
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