Time of the year for Black Walnut Cake

Kristy Dean Cole  Confession of a Baking Queen
Kristy Dean Cole
Confession of a Baking Queen

At my house, leaves ain’t the only thing falling-watch out for the walnuts! I don’t know if you ever experienced the trauma of getting knocked in the head by a falling walnut, but if you have, you probably just touched your head in recollection. Those suckers hurt! Most of you, have probably overlooked them as they fall amid piles of discarded leaves and blend. The squirrels however, are having a field day here. Rustling through those leaves, retrieving one at a time, then happily hoarding them in a stash for winter.

I always feel compelled to beat the squirrels to them. Yes, black walnuts are a hassle to deal with but they have such a flavorful taste in fall dishes and holiday fudges. Every year, my Aunt Arthena and I toss them into bags for safekeeping.

Unfortunately, they are some work to harvest. We collect our bounty, then we put into old milk crates in a sunny location to dry out the green hull. If you have a squirrel problem, you may need to cover the top with wire to keep them at bay. Once dried, that green hull will split open revealing the inner part that houses the nut. I suggest you put on some disposable gloves cause there is a sticky resin almost like ink that will stain your hands. I sit at an old stump with a hammer, and gently crack open each nut digging out it’s treasure awaiting inside.

If you choose to battle the squirrels for these tasty nuts, I hope you enjoy this classic recipe filled with them. If you would like to share a recipe, email kdcole1120@gmail.com.

Kentucky Black Walnut Cake

1 1/2 c. chopped black walnuts

1 c. butter, softened

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 large eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. table salt

3/4 c. milk

1/4 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan. Pulse black walnuts in food processor until finely ground, set aside. Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla, beating until just blended. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add butter to mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Beat egg whites at medium speed with a electric mixture until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Spoon batter evenly into pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes, remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar.