Buttermilk Walnut Snack Cake

Here's the thing: I'm not overly fond of walnuts. In an apple or pear salad, yes. But usually, when I see a recipe calling for walnuts, I change it to pecans. Not as bitter. My mother, on the other hand, loved walnuts, so it isn't because I didn't eat them as a child, I  just don't prefer them. Frankly, for the most part, I don't think kids like nuts in their baked goods anyway, at least mine didn't.
But, and there's always a "but", I'm not sure I'd like this cake if it was made with pecans. Believe me, I surprised myself by even wanting to make it, but it was that penuche icing that was the siren's call. (My dad would have loved it.) And the walnuts are great with that sweet icing. Easy cake to make for summer picnics, I think you'll like it.
1. I made it in a 9 by 9 pan, which made it thicker and took about 15 minutes longer to bake. You'll get way more servings if you make it in a 9 by 13 pan. (And probably more frosting per slice!)
2. The penuche frosting sets up after a time, but it'll run down the sides when you slather it on. This is not a bad thing.....see photo at the bottom. Yum.  You could add more confectioners sugar to make it firmer for traveling.
3. I toasted the walnuts.

Buttermilk Walnut Snack Cake with Penuche Frosting
From Noble Pig

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large  eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk 
1 cup  chopped walnuts

For the frosting:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light colored corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt, whisking until mixed.
Place butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until just combined. Add flour alternately with buttermilk, ending with flour. Mix until just combined, do not overmix. Fold in walnuts and pour into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting, place brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, butter, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer for 2 minutes. Place mixture into a bowl with confectioners' sugar, remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk and vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes until slightly cooled and thick. Spread evenly over cake and sprinkle with walnuts.
Let frosting set before cutting the cake into squares.


  1. It looks very tempting. A heavenly cake.



  2. I love walnuts, which is pretty handy as my neighbour has a very large walnut tree in her garden! This cake looks gorgeous and I agree, there's something about walnuts paired with a sweet frosting - and I'm not a lover of sweet frosting, but I would certainly eat it here!! Sammie http://www.feastingisfun.com

  3. I love both walnuts and pecans, but pecans ain't easy to find over here. This cake looks scrumptious!

  4. Must be great w/ that icing!Toasted is the way to go w/ walnuts:)

  5. I have a real love-hate with walnuts too. Mostly because I don't eat them enough and they go rancid which makes them just awful. Either I skip them or use valuable fridge space to keep them. Pecans never stay around long enough to go off, almonds are one of Petunia's favorite treats (hey, she likes broccoli too!). There are a few savory dishes that are great with toasted walnuts sprinkled on top so I keep them mostly for that. I have NEVER made a walnut cake.
    what makes something penuche??? Divine looking cake... maybe I'll get MORE walnuts and try it!!

  6. This looks so moist Barbara. I don't recall if I liked nuts in my baked goods or not as a child but nowadays I add them in even if they are not called for. I find that roasting the walnuts in the oven first changes their flavour.

  7. I'm making this for the Knight soon. It's everything he loves.

  8. My sister used to make this cake. We lost the recipe. I thought it was gone forever. Thanks for finding it for us. Pinned.


  9. I think look absolutely delicious Barbara:))

  10. My kids did not like nuts in the food either but they sure do now, love this cake, look delicious. Have a great week, Barbara!

  11. i don't think i'd like it, i KNOW i would! penuche is always a draw, and i think i actually like walnuts and pecans equally well. :)

  12. I agree with everything you said about walnuts and, even though they are supposed to be one of the healthiest nuts to eat, I'd rather eat a handful of pecans any day. However, looking at this beautiful cake and your praise, I definitely want to make this ASAP :)

  13. I just want to run to the kitchen and start making this frosting right now! This sounds dangerously good. Looks delicious with walnuts too.

  14. This looks fabulous! Penuche frosting is always great, isn't it? Like you, I'm only a moderate fan of walnuts (despite my mom loving them). And my kids never wanted nuts in baking when they were young, although they're growing into them as they get older.



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