I have upgraded this old-fashioned and straightforward pound cake recipe with the addition of black walnuts. The robust taste of black walnuts complements the buttery richness of the buttermilk pound cake. This black walnut pound cake is perfect for any occasion, although I enjoy making it for a crown during the holidays! Of course, you can also substitute regular walnuts in this recipe.
I love using buttermilk in a pound cake because it adds a very subtle tang to the buttery richness of the cake. The addition of black walnuts adds another layer of rich and earthy complexity. I like this recipe because it puts a fun twist on a traditional southern classic. I've never needed a special occasion for this recipe, and neither do you—it's perfect for any event!
Why you'll love this recipe
Easy to make with only one bowl. All your ingredients for this cake will be mixed in one bowl using an electric or stand mixer. That means less work for you and more time to enjoy the recipe!
Classic dessert with a fun twist. Black walnuts are a unique and fun ingredient that I enjoy incorporating in baked goods. It's perfect for impressing all your foodie friends.
Perfect for any occasion. This pound cake is ideal for a celebration or just because—you don't need a reason to enjoy this recipe!
Key ingredients and why we use them
Black Walnuts: The robust flavor profile of black walnuts is often described as earthy and bold. To some, the taste might be slightly bitter. The unique flavor of black walnuts is not for everyone. I recommend that you sample a handful before using them in this recipe.
Buttermilk: The acidic nature of buttermilk relaxes the gluten in the flour. The result is a cake that is moist and tender. The buttermilk also imparts a slightly tangy flavor to this cake.
Butter: Quality butter is a must in this recipe. My favorite brands of butter are Grassland, Fall Creek, Lurpak, and Plugra.
All-Purpose Flour: Basic all-purpose flour is fine for this recipe. You can use bleached or unbleached—it won't make a difference. I typically buy unbleached because it provides a little more structure in baked goods.
This recipe required a bundt pan with approximately 10 cups capacity. I used the Nordic Ware Jubilee Bundt Pan for this recipe. However, you'd be fine using any 10-cup capacity pan. If you don't know the capacity of your pan, you will want to ensure the batter fills ⅔ to ¾ of the pan. This will allow enough room for the cake to rise during baking.
Frequently asked questions
You can easily make buttermilk at home using any regular milk. Simply combine 1 cup of milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Stir the mixture well and then aside for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.
Before baking, apply a baking spray, which is a spray that has flour in it already, such as "Pam for Baking." Another option is to use a thin coating of solid vegetable shortening and then dust the surface lightly with flour.
I recommend hand washing your bundt pans. They can be soaked in warm soapy water for a while and washed with a safe scrubber for non-stick coatings. In stubborn cases, you can use a special cleaner to remove sticky residue, such as Dawn Power Dissolver.
HEATHER'S HELPFUL HINT
A baking spray works well for pans with intricate designs to get into all the nooks and crannies. Spray just before putting the batter in the pan, and spray thoroughly but not too heavily. Holding the spray can 8 to 10 inches from the pan.
You can print this entire recipe is below and save it for later. But, before you get there, let's walk through it step-by-step, so you understand what you're doing beforehand.
Start by combining the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Using a stand or electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed for one minute or until smooth and creamy. Add granulated sugar, and continue to cream on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low only until incorporated. Slowly mix in vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk in thirds. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stir ingredients after each addition but only until just combined
Remove the bowl from the mixer and add black walnuts. Using a spatula, stir until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixer to ensure that all ingredients are well combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for approximately 70 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
Make ahead and storage tips
I don't recommend preparing any part of this cake batter in advance. The batter will not hold up well once you've mixed everything. However, the cake does freeze exceptionally well. Instructions are listed below.
Freezing Instructions: You can easily make your pound cake months ahead of time and freeze it until you need it. Freezing cakes is an excellent way to prep for the holidays ahead of time. First, make sure you let the cake cool completely. Next, cover the cake using plastic wrap, ensuring no gaps where moisture could get inside. Next, wrap the cake in aluminum foil to protect it from freezer burn. You may need to use two sheets of foil to ensure the cake is fully covered. Finally, label your cake with the date and name. You can store your cake in the freezer for up to three months.
There are several different ways to switch up this recipe according to your taste!
- I recommend testing out black walnuts before using them in this recipe. If you find the taste too bitter, you can replace them with regular walnuts. You can also omit them from this recipe completely.
- Feel free to play around with replacing some of the vanilla extract with other flavors. I enjoy using half almond extract and half vanilla extract in this recipe as well.
- If walnuts aren't your thing, try this delicious almond cake recipe from Saving Dessert!
Try these other bundt cake recipes
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went OK — and what didn't — with a recipe! Also, be sure to check out some of our other recipes linked below!
Black Walnut Pound Cake
- Bundt Pan with 10 cup capacity
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs large, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup black walnuts
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar optional
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your bundt cake. Spray pan thoroughly with baking spray and set aside.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Using a stand or electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed for one minute, or until smooth and creamy. Add granulated sugar, and continue to cream on medium speed for 4 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low only until incorporated. Slowly mix in vanilla extract. Be careful not to overmix after the eggs have been added to the batter.
- With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk in thirds. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stir ingredients after each addition but only until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add black walnuts. Using a spatula, stir until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixer to ensure that all ingredients are well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for approximately 70 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Once a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, your pound cake is done.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for only 10 minutes. Then loosen the cake around the edges if necessary. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and lift the pan off gently. Once cool, dust with confectioners sugar.
Notes and Tips
- Black Walnuts: Please sample black walnuts before using them in this recipe. Some people find their taste to be overly bitter. If this is the case, substitute regular walnuts in equal measure.
- Buttermilk: You can easily make buttermilk at home using any type of regular milk. Simply combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Stir the mixture well and then aside for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.
- Greasing the Pan: For pans with intricate designs, a baking spray works well to get into all the nooks and crannies. Spray just before putting the batter in the pan, and spray thoroughly but not too heavily. Holding the spray can 8 to 10 inches from the pan.
- Baking Temperatures: If the interior of your pan is black in color, then bake at an oven temperature that is 25 degrees Fahrenheit less than the temperature noted in this recipe.
Hello! I think I would like this poundcake. But in reviewing it, there is no measurement for the buttermilk! How much is used in the cake?
I'm so sorry about that Sybil! It's one cup of buttermilk for the recipe. I've also updated the recipe in the post to reflect this. Thanks for your good eye and catch on this!
I grew up eating black walnuts and love the taste! Not many recipes with this ingredient around these days. This one was a winner. The taste is unique, definitely not for everyone.