Servings: 10-12Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: varies
Cream the butter and sugar; stir in eggs and vanilla. Using a sturdy spoon (or an electric mixer), alternately mix in the milk with the flour and baking powder. Stir in the nuts. Transfer to a greased pan (or pans) and bake in a “moderate” oven (350-degrees).
You can use any type of pan(s) you want. When I did this in loaf pans, I divided it into two large loaf pans. You could also do two 8- or 9-inch cake rounds, an 11 x 9 cake pan, a tube or bundt pan, or cupcakes. For me, it took an hour for an apple butter black walnut cake in two loaf pans. When I did half a recipe in an 8 x 8 (with blackberry jam), it took about 30 minutes. When I did a plain nut cake (using milk, no jam or apple butter) in an 11 x 9, it took about 30 minutes. Depending on what you add and what type of pan(s) you use, there are a lot of variables for baking time, so just keep an eye on it and do the toothpick test.
You can add one variation, or combine variations to make unique nut cakes.
*Add chopped fresh fruit or “plumped” dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, dates, etc. “Plump” dried fruit first by placing the dried fruit in a small pot of water (just enough to cover the fruit), bring to a boil, then let sit at least an hour or overnight. Strain the liquid before adding the fruit to the recipe. When adding fruit, use 1 cup of fresh or dried fruit and add at the end, when you mix in the nuts. You can also plump dried fruit in rum or fruit juice, etc, for additional flavor.
*Instead of milk, add 1 pint of apple (or other fruit) butter, applesauce, or any flavor jam or marmalade. Yes, the quantity of milk you are taking out is much less than the quantity of apple butter, jam, etc, you are putting back, but the consistency is different.
*For a chocolate nut cake, melt 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. Add to the recipe along with the eggs and vanilla.
*For a spicy nut cake, add up to 3 teaspoons of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger, and ground cloves. Use them in equal quantities, or not. Up to you! Add along with the flour and baking powder.
*Use no frosting, or any frosting! Cream cheese frosting works great. Streudel or buttery broiled topping (as in my gingerbread here) is also good. Or poke holes in the cake and drizzle a rum, bourbon, apple cider, or juice mixture into it. (See the rum glaze recipe for my Drunken Rum Cake here.) By the way, a popular “little old church lady” way to serve nut cake is baked in an 11 x 9 pan, cream cheese frosting, cut in squares with either nuts sprinkled over the top or a walnut or pecan half placed in the middle of each cake square.
*Cut the recipe in half if you don’t want this much cake. Either use one extra large egg or two small eggs. I used one large duck egg when I halved the recipe. (If all you have are medium eggs, don’t worry about this too much. A little more or less egg will not ruin the cake.)
Submitted by: suzanne-mcminn on February 18, 2011