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Black Walnut Christmas Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: black walnut, cake, christmas, christmas cake, cocktail, holiday, punch, holiday baking
Servings: 16 people
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
This Black Walnut Cake is a delicious, unique, and festive Christmas cake idea. Decorated with sugared cranberries, sprigs of rosemary, and black walnuts, it's a cake that will also look beautiful on your holiday table.


  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped black walnuts
  • Sugared cranberries, black walnuts, and rosemary to garnish
  • 1 batch Cream Cheese Frosting - (Substitute egg nog for milk.)


  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Spray with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat after each addition until smooth. Fold in the walnuts.
  • Evenly divide the batter among the three prepared baking bans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick interested near the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pans for 8-10 minutes; then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In the meantime, prepare cream cheese frosting* using the recipe linked below. Eliminate the almond extract and substitute the milk with eggnog for a festive touch.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, level each with a serrated knife, if necessary. Then spread about 1 cup of frosting between the layers of cake. Add another cup of frosting to the top of the cake. Spread over the cake in an even, thin layer,** using an offset spatula.
  • Top with additional black walnut pieces, sugared cranberries***, and sprigs of fresh rosemary to garnish.


*You can find my go-to cream cheese frosting here. As mentioned above, do not use the almond extract, and use eggnog instead of milk for a fun seasonal taste.
**With this technique, you are creating a "naked" cake. This is a rustic style of decorating a cake in which some of the cake shows through a thin layer of frosting.
***You can find my recipe for sugared cranberries here.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 415kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 8gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 324mgPotassium: 138mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 278IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
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