I love sharing time with my mom, Nancy Suddreth, who is 72. Recently, while we were puttering around the kitchen, she let slip this whopper: “Did you know that black walnuts cost ten dollars a pound?”
I almost dropped a plate. “Ten dollars a pound?” I couldn’t believe it. “Why don’t we just gather them like we used to. I know where a black walnut tree is.”
“I can’t crack those nuts,” she said. “I have to hit them too hard, and I end up smashing the nut to unusable pieces. Besides, after working with the walnuts, my hands are black for days. For me, it’s almost worth it to pay ten dollars a pound just to save me the trouble.”
Well, mom bought those black walnuts and stored them in her freezer until we had time to make our favorite black walnut cake. With all the ingredients ready, we began. I took this recipe from a local cookbook printed in 1983 by the Leicester community of WNC, west of Asheville, NC.
Brown Sugar Black Walnut Cake
This old-fashioned, Appalachian cake is made with some very rich ingredients — like butter, brown sugar and evaporated milk. Expect a rich cake with a mild black walnut flavor. It’s a delicious dessert to serve for company after dinner or to treat your family on a special occasion.
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 stick butter
- 1 pound brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups sifted plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1 cup black walnuts, chopped into medium pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the shortening, butter and brown sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the sugar mixture. Add the flavorings and mix well.
Bake in a greased and floured tube pan for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Cool.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1/4 cup black walnuts, finely chopped
Melt the butter on low heat. Add the sugar and milk. Stir for 1 minute. Cool.
Add the powdered sugar and beat the mixture to a spreading consistency. Add in the flavorings. Spread on the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the black walnuts.