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Walnut Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting

Walnut Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting

In our area, there are many walnut groves. The funny thing about walnuts is once I start eating them, I can’t quite stop. I developed this recipe to celebrate the sweet fragrance of fresh walnuts in the form of a light fluffy cake. The browned butter frosting is a frosting that can be put on many different cakes but brings such a rich layer of flavor to the sweet walnut cake.

Walnut Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting

Recipe makes 8 servings. Total time 1 hour and 30 minutes (cooling time included). Active time 30 minutes.



  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk


  • Shortening, for greasing cake pans
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour, plus more for dusting cake pans
  • 1 ½ cups shelled walnuts (unroasted), plus ¼ cup crumbled walnuts, for topping
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powser
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Begin making the frosting: In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. The butter will be frothy at first and the bubbles will be white. Watch and stir as the butter begins to brown. When the color shifts from yellow to the color of light honey, turn off the heat immediately. Pour into a large heatproof bowl and set aside to solidify.

  3. Make the cake: Grease two 8-inch cake pans with shortening, cover base of pan with a parchment paper circle, and grease parchment paper. Dust pans with a layer of cake flour, then set aside.

  4. In a food processor, grind the 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts to the texture of wet sand.

  5. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add granulated sugar and mix well.

  6. In a separate large bowl, whisk eggs. Add oil, milk, vanilla, and ground walnuts, and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients gradually, mixing until fully incorporated with a wooden spoon.

  7. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

  8. While the cakes are cooling, finish making the frosting. Using an electric mixer, cream the cooled butter on medium speed until very pale and fluffy, at least 2 minutes. Sift the powdered sugar into the butter. Mix the sugar into the butter on the lowest speed. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the milk and beat on high speed until very fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

  9. When cakes have cooled to room temperature, remove them from pans. Ice the top of first layer with half of frosting. Stack second layer on top, then cover only the top with the rest of the frosting.

  10. Top with crumbled walnuts.

Recipe first featured on Ranch To Table Season 2 Episode 1: Night Off on Magnolia Network

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Photos: Brian Skope

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