Appalachia Appalachian Food

Black Walnut Pound Cake

Old time black walnut pound cake with caramel icing

A few weeks ago I attended a fund raiser over at the community center. Towards the end of the event, they held an auction for various donated items. One of the items was a Black Walnut Pound Cake with Caramel Icing. As the bidding began it was obvious many of the people in attendance had tasted the cake before and knew how good it was. When the flurry of action was over the cake sold for a whopping 80 dollars!

I thought about the cake and wished I had the recipe for it. I thought I’d ask the person who donated it if they’d share the recipe with me, but by the end of the night I totally forgot about asking for the recipe. A few days later I decided I’d make a black walnut cake from one of the recipes I already had.

I found one I had hand written years ago. I read Granny the ingredient list and asked if I copied it from her, but she couldn’t remember and I couldn’t ever remember making it myself. I decided now was a good time to give it a try.

As I began to round up all the ingredients, I realized it sounded like it was going to be very similar to the cake from the fund raiser.

Black walnut pound cake

Black Walnut Pound Cake

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cup plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black walnut flavoring or coconut flavoring
  • 1 cup black walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (or a little more) canned cream (evaporated milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black walnut flavoring or coconut flavoring
  • 2 cup powdered sugar

Grease and flour tube pan. I don’t have a tube pan, so if I make a recipe that calls for one, I use a Bundt pan and a couple of small loaf pans.

Old fashioned black walnut cake

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar together with mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each. Add milk and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to batter and mix well after each addition.

Toss black walnuts with a tablespoon of flour.

Add black walnuts and flavoring of your choice to batter and mix till combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans and cook at 325˚ until done. My Bundt pan took about an hour and my small loaf pans took about 45 minutes.

Cool cakes in pans before removing-this makes removal much easier!

Easy caramel icing for cake

To prepare icing, melt butter in a large sauce pot. Add brown sugar and cream; bring to a boil.

Remove from heat, add powdered sugar and flavoring; mix until smooth.

Black Walnut Pound Cake with Caramel Icing

Spread icing over cake. I took the easy way out and added extra cream to thin out the icing and poured it over my cake-allowing it to drip down the sides of its own accord.

If you love black walnuts this is a fantastic cake and you should make it. 

Drop back by over the next few days for more black walnut talk.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    September 16, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe.
    Would it be okay to use all butter… no shortening?

    • Reply
      September 17, 2020 at 7:41 am

      Dardanella-I’ve never used all butter, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    October 29, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Tipper. I got to try this one looks sooo delicious I had a Carmel pie in Texas I love Carmel I ask the lady who brought the pie for how she made it. She laughed and said Rorger store had can Carmel just get the pie shell and bake it fill with Carmel and put cool whip on it. I had to have a second piece

  • Reply
    Lorie Thompson
    November 29, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Hi Tipper. I made this exact cake for Thanksgiving for my family. They loved it! I am unable to eat regular flour products and so, I made myself and my other gluten-free family members one and substituted gluten -free baking mix for the flour. The only issue I had was that my gluten free stuck a little without being able to flour the cake pan. I think on my next baking I am going to butter, flour and put some sugar crystals in the bottom of the pound cake pan and leave off the frosting. The cake is so good that the frosting is not necessary.
    I enjoyed fond memories of sitting at a table in the back of my Granny’s kitchen picking out walnuts while she made the cake batter. She sometimes put this Penuche Frosting on her cake, but sometimes she put chocolate fudge frosting on it.
    I write a monthly cooking article for The Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine and this cake is going to be in it in the near coming months.
    Happy day to you!

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    November 13, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Im covered in black walnuts in yard and street but dont think I have enough energy to break into them. Best cake I’ve every had with black walnuts was made by a neighbor here. He says you cannot use the nuts from every tree and I’m wondering why ?? Maybe male/female tree ???
    He makes all his cakes in bundt pan and pokes holes in them and pours on the hot ‘icing’.
    Truly delicious.
    Just a little dab of black walnuts will do.! I wouldn’t want it year around like vanilla pound cake.

  • Reply
    Beth B
    November 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Pinned this! Can’t wait to try. We have harvested black walnuts for the first time this year and I try to keep black walnut flavoring to use in an old-fashioned pumpkin bread recipe that we love. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Beth B
    November 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Pinned this! Can’t wait to try. We have harvested black walnuts for the first time this year and I try to keep black walnut flavoring to use in an old-fashioned pumpkin bread recipe that we love. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    March 18, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Please tag this with Walnut Pound Cake! It almost never found it back. LOL

  • Reply
    Alice Jones
    December 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Merry Christmas Tipper, I wanted you to know that I made your black walnut cake for Christmas and it was a wonderful cake so moist and tender my family loves it so I will be making it again. Thank You

  • Reply
    December 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Oh my WORD that cake looks delicious! If I made one, I wonder how much of it I would eat all by myself the very first day? I wonder if I’ll ever dare find out!
    I’ve made two simple cranberry cakes in the past couple of weeks, and as soon as the hens oblige me with some eggs, I’ll be baking another. It’s so nice to have a good snack available when chores are finished and it’s already dark at 5PM.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    December 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

    My Granny used to make a Black Walnut Pound Cake for Christmas every year. I tried using her recipe for years with mine always turning out too dry. Then last year I won the Remington Cookbook from one of your “give aways” and it had a Black Walnut pound cake recipe in it. I tried it and it turned out perfect. 🙂 My Granny told me that was the best Black Walnut Cake she’d ever had. I’ve made it twice since then both times turning out to the good, so its a “keeper” .

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 1, 2015 at 7:34 am

    That looks so good! I think I just put on another pound just reading it. I made a couple of fresh apple cakes and put them in the freezer, I think I will make that icing to put on them when I take them out of the freezer to eat. It really looks delicious! The recipe ran off for me just fine. I need to figure out how to put that feature on my blog – I have lot of recipes over there.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    November 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Sounds yummy. Also sounds like it could be made with regular walnuts or even pecans. And Bro Tom would LOVE the icing because he loves caramel icing.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    YUM-O!!! This looks sooooo good! This is one I will absolutely make! I was reading some of the comments and would love to have the recipe for Miss Cindy’s old timey cooked icing if she will share it. I remember my grandma making a cake with icing like that and it was so good.
    I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    Judy Malone
    November 30, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Miss Cindy, can you please share the old timey cooked icing that your great Aunt used. My Aunt had a caramel icing that was smooth and then hardens on cake, but none of us thought to ask how she made it! And she passed on back in summer of 1983. She also had one for chocolate that did the same and we can’t duplicate it either. Any help appreciated.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 30, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Your cake looks wonderful! I love anything with Black Walnuts in ’em. I got lots of those trees all around my garden and as many Walnut Crackers as I sent around the U.S., I never kept one for myself. But I’ve still got some supplies when I take the notion.
    Most of the time, I just pulverize a couple tablespoons full of Black Walnuts and add to Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix. Lord, the whole shop smells good as they bake…Ken

  • Reply
    Glynda Chambers
    November 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for this great recipe. I have black walnuts that I bought at the Asheville Farmers market and this will be a great way to use some of them. So glad I’m able to now print off the recipe, worked like a charm. Thanks again for all of the great recipes that you share with your readers and have a wonderful week.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    November 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Good looking cake. I printed to try, but I will use pecans. Have plenty of them…no walnuts on hand, in spite of the comments above about not substituting. Like Ron, I remember picking up walnuts and love the trees and wood. Many of the old trees are gone now as people don’t like their look and if they were good trees, sawmills pay a premium for them. We hauled them by the pickup load to a buyer who took off the hulls, weighed the nuts in shell, and paid cash. Good spending money for a teenager in the 60’s.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 10:42 am

    That looks delicious. Sometimes it is good to just randomly skip a meal and indulge in something super delicious. That Black Walnut pound cake certainly would fill the bill. As usual and without fail your blog is packed with something interesting.
    I have Black Walnut trees, but due to the difficulty and stain of shelling, they have become more of a nuisance with mowing. I wish I knew some easy way of shelling. A neighboring state was asking for them to plant, but this procrastinator never got around to delivering them to the gathering station. Some used to place on gravel drives and run over with vehicles to remove shells.
    I also run over old recipes gathered through the years from co workers. These finally made it to a notebook binder. My favorite was a prune cake which I have not yet tried, and the recipe was given to me 15+ years ago. What is so great about Tipper’s recipes is they are clutter free, and I can just do a search. Thanks.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 10:26 am

    The print link worked like a champ! I have a bunch of black walnut trees on my property. Boy are they messy!! I’ve taken 2 nuts from the husk, forgetting that you should wear gloves 🙁 My finger nails are stained until they grow out!! I have the nuts sitting on the kitchen window shelf, don’t know when they’ll be ready to crack? Not sure I’ll be collecting them for future use? Thanks so much for the recipe though, sounds yummy 🙂

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    November 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Oh My Gosh! I can’t wait to try that. I didn’t know there was black walnut flavoring. So I will need to pick some up first. We have probably a gallon of Missouri Black walnut meat in the freezer. Thank you for sharing! The blacksmith loves black walnuts!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Black walnut pound cake and persimmon pudding are two of my Grandma Ginny’s staples at Christmas. They never disappoint. I have seen how much love and labor she puts into each and $80 sounds about right.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 10:02 am

    This cake sounds like it could be worth $80. As soon as I get the flavoring, I will be digging out the bundt pan and giving this recipe a try. I love black walnuts in just about any cake or candy recipe.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 30, 2015 at 9:11 am

    This sounds so good. A great Fall looking cake…this would get one thru breakfast sweet craving until Christmas, maybe!…Served on a beautiful (TN orange plate) with a few small colorful maple leaves tucked all around the edge!
    Thanks for the recipe…
    Looking forward to more talk about black walnuts…either you love the earthy taste or not! I happen to think that only black walnuts will make certain recipes taste like they should, no pecan, hazel nut, or English walnut substitute either!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 30, 2015 at 8:44 am

    My favorite ! My most-requested birthday cake is black walnut-spice-raisin-apple. One reason I like it is because of having made a trip to collect the walnuts in the fall. ( I love the smell of the fresh walnut husks.) Another reason is because when I’m cracking the nuts it reminds me of when my brother and I lived with our Grandma and we would crack walnuts and hickory nuts for hours.
    In the sandstone country of the Cumberland Plateau where I grew up black walnut trees usually mark an old house site. Only in the limestone country to the west does black walnut grow in the woods. There are few woody plants that will grow underneath walnut. Spicebush is one of the few. River cane is also unaffected by walnut root chemicals. The understory of walnut is often weeds and grass.
    Black walnut is one of the premier American furniture woods. Oddly though, it is also now sold as 3/4-inch thick flooring. I can’t figure that one out. It is also one of the woods used in handcrafting dulcimers, psalteries and other Appalachian wood crafts.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Looks and sounds delicious! Watch out waistline, here it comes!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 30, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Tipper–A wonderful black lady whom I considered a genuine friend helped Dad a lot with housework and the like after Mom died. Most of all though, she would sit down after she finished working and talk to him a bit. She helped assuage the loneliness in his life and, I might add, did the same for others in the community.
    Beulah Suddereth (her name) was also a wonderful cook and she made a black walnut pound cake that was toothsome to an indescribable degree. Daddy always wanted one for family reunions, visitors, or his own eating pleasure.
    One day, by chance, I found out he had been paying only $10 for the big, scrumptious cakes. When I told him the ingredients cost more than that and that he ought to be paying at least $25, his reply was typical of what you would expect from someone who had grown up knowing hard times and who came of age on the cusp of the Great Depression. “If I paid that much for the cake it would sour on my stomach.”
    Henceforth Don or Annette or I saw to it that she got what the cake was worth. I asked some of her family for the recipe when she died but never got it. Her approach was at least somewhat different because the cake included grated coconut (and had no icing). I may have to try this one, complex though it is. Whether I do or not, you’ve resurrected some mighty warm memories of a mighty fine woman.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 30, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Tipper, it certainly looks divine! I love caramel icing on cakes. I don’t much like black walnuts but I bet I’d like your cake. My great aunt used to bring a caramel cake to all the family get together s. I still have her recipe. It is the old timey cooked icing that spreads on smooth then hardens a little. I really loved that cake!

  • Leave a Reply