walnut jam cake

Given my fixation with both walnuts and everyday cakes, it should come as exactly no surprise that the time between me spying this recipe and me getting it in the oven was about six days. Which is the equivalent of less than one day in If You Don’t Have An Impish Four-Month Old terms. I fell for it quickly, it came together even faster (spoiler: the whole thing can be made in a single-bowl food processor) and all of that voluptuous stuff on top — a schmear of jam and a “drift” of whipped cream that’s been tarted up with a little sour cream — are standard no-fuss ingredients. This cake is an easy win.

one brown, three white eggs
whipped cream with a little sour

And yet, I must fuss. It is my way. I am 33 years old, clearly too old and entrenched to change. I found the jam a little overpowering. Now, I intentionally went out and sought a jam that would be more tart than sweet, and then I did add the optional lemon juice to further the punch. Nonetheless, when you have a subtly delightful cake — built on a flavor bed of walnuts toasted nearly to the point of caramelization) — it’s hard to find that under a pile of jam. I might halve it next time, or just spread a thin slick of it on top. Or even skip it and for once, listen to my husband who thinks that everything is better with chocolate and perhaps puddle some ganache on top instead. Or my waistline, that thinks this cake is rich enough plain? Nah, definitely the husband.

jam on walnut cake

And the whipped-with-a-touch-of-sour cream, lordy, I was excited about that but wow, that sure is a lot of it. I barely even know who is talking right now, because surely this would never come out of my own mouth but maybe a little less whipped cream next time? Clearly, I’m feeling under the weather today and it shows.

walnut jam cake

Beyond my fussing, however, this is one of those cakes that I can imagine as many, many things: I could see it as a birthday layer cake. Or the kind of breakfast muffins you know are really just small cakes but look, jam! Clearly that makes them breakfast material. You could split the cake once or twice and slip the jam between the layers, if you’re feeling fancy. Pecans would be an obvious substitution, if you don’t like walnuts (but how could you not?). And I dare say that given the small amount of flour in the cake, it seems ripe for some Kosher for Passover or Gluten-Free adaptability, yes?

Go. Have fun with it. This should totally be your Just Because It’s Wednesday Night dessert.

walnut jam cake, my wedge

One year ago: Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw

Walnut Jam Cake
Adapted from, long sigh

1 1/4 cups walnuts (4 1/2 ounces or 130 grams), toasted (in a shallow baking pan at 350°F for 10 minutes) and cooled
2/3 cup (150 grams) sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces or 113 grams), cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces or 65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/2 cup (150 grams) jam or preserves (apricot or raspberry are recommended; I used black currant)
2/3 cup (160 grams) chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup (60 grams) sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or hit it up with the butter-and-flour spray of your choice.

Pulse cooled walnuts and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Add butter and process until combined, then add eggs and vanilla and process until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse just until incorporated. Spread batter in cake pan.

Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely.

Whisk lemon juice (if using) into jam. Spoon jam over cake.

Beat heavy cream with sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until it holds soft peaks, then spoon over jam

Do ahead: Cake (without topping) keeps, well-wrapped, at room temperature for 4 days. With topping, it has kept so far in the fridge quite nicely for over a day.

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232 comments on walnut jam cake

  1. you’re clearly evil. i was just clicking over here to get the brownie recipe for a friend and then you put this in front of me. honestly, i’m supposed to work for another 5 hours today.

    meanwhile, you suggest pecans as a substitute, any reason to stay away from almonds as an alternative? not that the almond cake options you’ve already presented aren’t wonderful, but you know, i do like almonds…

  2. Christie

    And one more thing, I just love the pictures of Jacob you post in every recipe. It’s like an added sweetness or something. Even if the recipe doesn’t always appeal to me, I always click through to find Jacob’s picture.

  3. I do love it!!! It’s fantastic!! I feel my mouth watterin about it!!

    I follow you from Spain and I dream of making all your recipes, just like the film “Julia and Julie”!! Would you mind if I use some of them, with my own photos and a link to your page at my blog? I hope you won’t mind…

    I’ve tried carrot cake, almonds zucchini yet, but I can only cook on sundays. That upset me so much… I’ve seen your Tortilla de Patatas, I never thought It was so difficult!! I’d like to send you some other Spanish recipes, are you looking for something special? Maybe Gazpacho would you like… Madrilenian Cocido should be too fat, I think!!

    Best regards from Madrid, Spain!!

  4. Thank you so much for putting gram weights – I live In Austria and I don’t have cups so even though I can use a converter as well as the next person, it depends a great deal on how exactly the recipe maker was filling their cup and all that and it can be rather frustrating at times.

  5. Kyla

    Yum! This looks lovely. I am going to try this out on my parents when I go visit them this weekend. My husband has a thing against sweets and jam (I know, and I married him?) so I stock pile my baking ideas to be unleashed on more appreciative relatives.

  6. Amy

    Sharing your sigh over Gourmet. I feel a pang every time I see it in my list of bookmarks.
    I think jam _in_ the cake would be much nicer–would soak in a bit. But lovely, nonetheless.

  7. Darcy

    I think my favorite parts of your posts lately are hearing how long it takes you to actually get stuff done – having a lovely 5-month old of my own who really does believe that we exist to cater to her every whim (and sadly, we do), I can relate! It is just lovely to hear a mom who is honest about what it takes to get things done with baby – and what yummy things you’re getting done – thanks!

  8. Karen

    I think it would be just fine with *just* the whipped cream, but then I’m not a big fan of jam and cakes. Though I used to drool over scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, and perhaps this is just a riff on those?

    Your cocoa brownies adapted perfectly to a sub of gluten free all purpose flour blend—since there was only 1/2 cup flour in there–so I’m sure that would work here. Will have to try it.

  9. Liz

    It looks wonderful, but I agree that maybe just the whipped cream would be enough — I’d want to really taste the cake. I’ll just have to try it both ways and see :)

  10. I’m curious about currant jam, where did you get that?

    I have some wild grape jelly that I could see using. Although honestly all I really want is that cake with some whipped cream. I’ve never been a big fruits for dessert type. Maybe this is more of an afternoon tea party cake? I’ve always wanted to throw a tea party; perhaps Tea Time in the Garden? However, I’m impatient and I don’t want to wait until all this stupid snow thaws and green comes back into the world.

  11. OK, now what about those of us without food processors? I have a bullet I can chop the well-toasted nuts in (heh heh), so beyond that, will my trusty hand mixer work?

    This might seem like a dumb question, but I’ve only made one cake before (your poppy seed lemon yumminess).

  12. I love, LOVE, the idea of adapting this to be KforP. I am officially done with the flourless chocolate cake, that cloying staple of Passover desserts, and I’m always looking for alternatives. I think I have some Passover cake flour laying around at home – I’ll let you know how it goes!

  13. AA

    I love your recipes for desserts — honest answer please — what do you do with all of this cake? Do you have company every day? Do you throw it out?

    1. deb

      AA — In another life, I’d call friends over and say “we have too much cake!” but nowadays that takes more coordination that we have energy for in the evenings what with Infant Management. Now I give it away to anyone who will take it — visiting grandparents, the nanny — and, sadly, a lot of it gets chucked.

      A chocolate puddle topping — Try simmering 3 tablespoons of heavy cream then stirring it over 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips or 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate until it melts. (You could add a pinch of instant coffee granules too.) Puddle it on the cake. Or let it drip, which it might too because there’s a bit of a dome.

      Serial/others without food processors — Use a hand mixer. You might need to let the butter soften a bit, so the mixer can handle it better.

  14. This looks just right for Passover and that’s a great idea!
    I’m not that Kosher, so I don’t even think I’ll attempt substitutions.
    However, I do agree with the husband of yours,
    If you were to make it with chocolate what would you suggest?
    Can you think of any of your recipes you could refer me to for chocolate frosting?
    Well, not frosting exactly, but something chocolate-y and creamy to schmear over this cake?

  15. Diane

    Deb, love the site. Long time lurker…first time question asker…Could this be done in a cupcake/muffin pan?

    If so, what changes would you recommend? I would love to make this for my office, but I take public transportation so bringing an entire cake isn’t nearly as convenient as individual servings!

  16. I adore this cake. Since we made it a few months ago, its been often at our table, with a fig and apple compote instead of the jam.

    I hear you on the long sigh.

  17. This post is inspiring. I’m in the middle of a ten day stint without dairy (possible lactose intolerance)! Maybe, just maybe I could substitute vegetable oil for the butter and omit the whipped cream altogether?

    Impatiently looking to sunday when I can put clouds in my coffee again!

  18. Beautiful. I too was going to make the brownie recipe (and I still am, because I have the ingredients for it) and got suckered into this glorious looking cake. If you want a touch of tartness maybe you could add dried cranberries (or fresh at a medium chop) to the batter. Yum!

  19. @Almost Slowfood – I was dairy-free for more than two decades. Rather than vegetable oil, I’d suggest that you swap in a milk-free margarine for the butter. (Nucoa brand is 100% lactose free.) Your local health food store might also have coconut or soy-based “butters” you could experiment with. Good luck!

  20. Susan

    Hoo buddy..This so appeals to me. I’ve had this walnut torte recipe flitting in and out of my consciousness for the past year that’s been pu-pu’d by my family every time I utter the desire to bake it. An impish 4 month old is so much more manageable when these whims need indulgence! The topping is what has me stymied. It calls for a thin layer of jam, then a cream cheese type of frosting with added nuts. I keep tasting a buttery, sticky date & nut type of layer in there somewhere with a light creamy, slightly tangy topping. Might be too rich though. sigh…

  21. You throw away your cake?! Oh my goodness, that just has to be a cardinal sin of some sort. I wish I lived within walking distance of your trash can :)

    This cake looks great, by the way!

  22. b

    I’m glad this can be made with a hand mixer. I’ll go for the chocolate. Jacob Henry is teething…is Mama going to try to make him teething biscuits?

  23. I have a very similar recipe for walnut cake, which I really like for breakfast or gouter. I just keep a few pulsed walnuts to get some crunchyness in the cake.. Never thought of serving it with jam & cream. Is it really necessary? Maybe if you want to get to know your neighbors better because how do you carry such a thing without making a mess?

  24. Oh this is the perfect Wednesday night, just because cake. Especially since it’s book club tonight and if I show up without some sort of baked good in hand the ladies get cranky. :) Thanks Deb!

  25. linda

    early jacob sighting on this post!! the kid is just so cute!!

    i now “own” your espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies & your “best” bday cake with icing which i made into cupcakes…the icing came together perfectly & so easy… i piped (large tip) onto the cupcakes…
    both cookies & cupcakes where gone very quickly.
    thank you…i do give all credit to you & sk!!

    i have been saving an apricot farm preserves jam (which is chunky in texture) – purchased in october @ stone barns…i know where it’s going to be used!

  26. Man, that is one cute kid! And I know that every parent would say they have cute kids, but I really do have some cute kids. But that Jacob melts a heart!

    Oh, and as always I’ve left your site completely inspired to tinker in my kitchen! Thank you!

  27. Liz C.

    long sigh, indeed.

    This cake looks really interesting! I think I like the muffin idea to trick myself that it’s breakfast. =)

  28. Oh dear, this makes me wish I weren’t allergic to walnuts. Thanks for the pecan suggestion though. Anyhow, I am writing to beg to differ with you and anyone else who thinks that might be too much whipped cream. In my universe, there is no such thing as too much whipped cream. It is my favorite food (in spite of studying nutrition!) This reminds me just a bit of Norwegian celebration cake, with the jam and whipped cream, making the choice of currant jam spot on!

  29. NicM

    Ooh this is a great base for getting creative. I really want to swap that jam out for some caramelized apple slices and maybe add a touch of cinnamon to the whipped cream. Something about apples and walnuts makes me happy!

  30. Paula

    I have a completely unrelated question – what kind of camera do you use? have you taken photography classes? your pictures always look so beautiful and professional. i just recently found out i am expecting and need to know i can capture my little monkey as well as you are capturing yours!

  31. Lex

    okay, so I keep getting sidetracked from reading more about the recipe once I see the pics of your cute baby! He really is adorable with that hair!

  32. Ivy

    Oh my, that looks delicious! I’m not normally a big fan of walnuts, but I think I might have to set that aside and try this anyway. Mmmm, cake.

  33. My grandmother and aunt make a classic southern “jam cake” with walnuts and a caramel icing. I don’t have the recipe on hand, but the blackberry jam is very subtle.

  34. I’m fairly certain this has “breakfast + a strong cup of coffee” written all over it. I’ve been sitting on my Gourmet tear sheet for this one all these months, grieving. Thanks for resuscitating it.

  35. mapleleafmeg

    I was just thinking I wanted to use the walnuts I just bought…
    I bought them so I can try to replicate a walnut/white chocolate Italian bread I used to buy at an artisan bakery in my university days.
    Anyway, no time to bake bread tonight but I have everything to bake this cake.

  36. Arienne

    I liked the idea of a “because it’s Wednesday” cake, so I made it tonight. I just put a thin layer of raspberry jam on it, no cream as I had none, and it is the new favorite cake in this household. My husband is right now contemplating eating the whole thing. I assured him you said it would keep four days but I think it might not make it past breakfast tomorrow. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  37. Sydney

    My eyes lit up when I read “walnut jam cake”, as I love both your wonderful blog and jam cak. But this is not quite what I expected, having grown up on my Kentucky grandmother’s recipe (although I am sure this cake is also delicious). Her batter included much blackberry jam (with seeds) and the bundt cake was then topped with just a brown-sugar icing.

  38. I love love love walnuts so this cake is very tempting indeed. I think instead of the jam I would top it with fresh macerated berries, or perhaps a prune or date compote, depending on the season.

    I like how dense and sturdy it looks. It looks like it could up to a fork quite nicely.

    Gorgeous picture with the whipped cream, by the way. A cake to dream about.

  39. These pictures are absolutely irresistible. Your sight should be illegal. I’m thinking of making it for a Saturday night dinner party and am wondering whether I should add the chocolate like your husband suggests, because I agree everything is better with chocolate.

  40. Jane

    Hi, lovely recipe!!! I bake gluten free and this will be an easy conversion.
    Although the photos are dreamy.. I think I’m with you re the whipped cream and jam- perhaps just too much. Wonder how it would be with a simple glaze of .. say, apricot jam? (using a low sugar nice quality apricot jam, heating it in a saucepan, then glazing the top with it). Could actually do that with any jam, it would thin it to a glaze (heating) then you’d not need much on top- could probably brush it on.
    But those photos.. just fab!!! The cream is billowy :-)

  41. jean

    Hmmmh i kind of like the idea of the nut cake jam combo though, but i guess mainly because it reminds me of my husband’s delicious Linzertorte, which he makes with Dalfour black or redcurrant jam.

  42. maggie

    I burst into tears when I saw this cake here. I developed the recipe for gourmet, sigh, and it warms the cockles of my heart that it still gets eaten, with jam, or chocolate, or pecans, or whatever makes someone happy. Those recipes were labors of love and in the “like water for chocolate scenario”, it’s all good.

  43. Charlotte K

    I’m looking for a great walnut cake recipe so I will give this a try. I would use blackberry jam, and I think split the cake and put a thin layer of jam between the layers, and a thin layer on top, with the cream on the side.

    OR make a coffee icing and use that, still with a bit of blackberry jam between layers.

    I wish the weekend would come! I won’t be able to do this until then, but I haven’t had time to really cook since before the holidays so I plan to spend the entire weekend in the kitchen.

  44. Erika

    I have been looking for a cake that would work with black walnuts, which we are pelted with each fall. The stories of one my great-grandmother used to make bring misty, longing looks to my mom’s sibs’ eyes. Alas, the book containing it has gone AWOL. The recipes we’ve found are all incredibly sweet and goopy. Do you think this would cut it?

  45. Lauren

    With Pesach just around the corner and a lot of horrible cakes out there suitable for the holiday, you really got me interested there! What would you substitute the flour for? Any more Pesach-cake ideas?

  46. Walnut cake sounds like the perfect candidate for a coating of subtle and not-too-sweet pan-roasted pears. Plus whip, of course. Use less if you must, but never leave it off entirely!

  47. That looks amazing, Deb. One question about mixing heavy cream and sour cream: does it still whip as well and hold a peak?

    Oh, and another question: does this mean I can whip creme fraiche (which has always been a little too heavy for my comfort)?

    And at any point, could I substitute some of that ridiculous unflavored greek yogurt for the teensiest bit of the sour cream? Or does it need all that fat to actually “whip”?

    Um, sorry, ran off at the mouth asking questions, but I’ve been pondering this stuff for awhile and thought if you knew, maybe you’d share.

    1. deb

      Marti — Yes, I think you could swap yogurt, but I might not use low-fat. It does not whip as firm… well, actually, I’m not positive because I didn’t give it a chance to but as you might be able to tell in the beaters picture, there’s a softness even to the soft peaks.

  48. Susan

    I made this cake yesterday and I just love it! Deep toasting the walnuts really made this cake. I used some remnants of homemade apricot jam, not piles quite as thick as you show here. It played against the nuttiness of the cake beautifully and sweetened it just right. Loved the combo of the sour cream whipped with the heavy cream as well. I’ll use that topping often, it was so good!

    Maggie..beautiful recipe! If you are the Maggie that made the pie crust video for Gourmet, your technique saved me from the pie crust Hell I’ve lived in all my baking life. Thank you for that!

  49. Is it just the fact that you are a great photographer, or is Jacob *actually* the cutest baby alive?? Enquiring minds want to know.

    And the cake looks good too. :) Thanks for sharing, both the recipes and The Jacob.

  50. Amy

    I made this cake a few weeks ago with apricot jam, but I cut the cake in half and put half the amount of jam inside and half on top.

    It made the inside of the cake super moist and wonderful—like how a peanut butter sandwich gets when it’s been waiting in your lunchbox all morning!

    Next time, almonds instead of walnuts!

  51. Now that is a fantastic Wednesday night dessert! I like the idea of torting and filling the cake with the jam. Actually, kind of thinking that a Nutella/whipped cream mix might be nice inside, too.

  52. Missi

    Just made it last night with pecans and raspberry jam. Sitting in front of the oven while the cake baked was the best way to do my finance homework, and having a warm and jammy slice was the perfect finish to a late night of studying.

    Thank you.

  53. kit

    for the person who asked about black walnuts i would be cautious, i decided to use them in cookies the other day in place of regular, and they have a REALLY strong flavor. i really love black walnut ice cream but to try to put it with something where it isn’t the only flavor in the dish is a little iffy.. who knows thought, this flavor profile isn’t really highlighting anything but the walnuts so it could work, just know that they will come through strongly

  54. Deb, I like your math: with 3 kids if I mean to do something today, but don’t do it until 18 days from now, I am ok :) (which sounds about how it goes with me).

    And I love walnuts, and think this cake looks yum.

  55. Erika

    An answer to the black walnut question (and apologies for doubling up on the black walnut question back at post #85): the cake is superb with them. Not too sweet, and nothing competing with the flavor – the vanilla enhances it. If you have ’em, do it! Deb, if you wanted to risk deterioration of quality from walnuts being removed from the freezer while shipping, I’d be happy to send you enough to have a go.

  56. Helen

    mine is in the oven as well! i plan to top it with a thin layer of blueberry jam that i put up this summer. the smell is driving me crazy!

  57. cathy

    Maybe if I added cubed chicken this could be a meal? ;)

    No, really, this looks amazing. I think it would be a great weekend breakfast.

  58. ahtinah

    I, also love your photos, and the recipes make me want to get into the kitchen right now! Alas, I’ll have to wait until morning to get a few things from the store, so I can make this cake for a family treat!!However, I haven’t seen any pictures of Jacob lately!!! and I miss seeing that darling little face….We love your recipes and great photos, but we want to see more of Jacobs little face too. Is he cooing to you, like he has so much to say??

  59. Toddlerchaser

    I made this cake tonight. I thought I burned the walnuts in our new convection oven (gave one to our not-quite-3-year-old to taste. “pretty awful!” he said, flecks of black walnut skin on his lips). But the cake was delicious. I used a wash of marmalade and a lighter wash of blueberry jam — just a hint — and no sour cream, just a cloud of whipped cream with a little almond extract. Gorgeous.

  60. YUM. So I just made a version of your key lime cheesecake – the recipe with mangos- and I have to say it tastes like a margarita cheesecake…that’s a good thing.
    Suddenly I feel the need to make clementine marmalade again, which makes me want to bake something to put it on, which means this cake is going to get made soon.

  61. Tamsin

    Hi Deb, you and Rachel (at RachelEats) are feeding my walnut obsession! Your recipe reminded me of a French recipe I’ve wanted to make for years, it’s very similar to your cake but without the jam/cream. It does have a good glug of brandy and the eggs are separated and the whites beaten until stiff and folded in. So last night that’s exactly what I made… and it was good.

  62. I think this is the fastest I’ve gone from Reader to kitchen! So easy and delicious! I served it with homemade applesauce instead of jam. My daughter said it tasted like muffins, so I guess the breakfast treatment is next!
    I’m also thinking about putting a Central European spin on this with the addition of a couple ounces of grated chocolate, some lemon zest, and a bit of cinnamon.

  63. The local farmer’s market sells this really amazing sugar-free raspberry jam that’s pretty much just smashed raspberries. The moment I can get my hands on it, this cake will happen.

  64. Jessica

    mmm mmm that looks yummy. It’s only 9am on Friday and I want to get home to bake that. Maybe this weekend. I did make the poppy seed lemon cake which you posted awhile back (was a huge success, lasted 3 days in my house). Looking forward to tasting it. Walnuts pure perfection especially in a cake.

  65. Katy

    i just want to say that i don’t think i will ever make cake batter without a food processor ever again! this was so easy to make and came out perfectly even though i accidentally toasted the walnuts 10 minutes extra (oops!). keep up the good work!

    1. deb

      Those who find themselves burning the walnuts — I love the way Anne Burrell on her cooking show always says that you toast nuts “just long enough to forget about them”. She’s absolutely right, and I constantly forget I have them in the oven too.

  66. I’ve been looking for ways to use up the the jars upon jars of jam I have stashed away from last summer’s canning binge. This looks perfect, and should be quite easy make gluten-free! Putting it on the list presently.

  67. AA

    Completely off topic – but where else should I post? – I have bought spice jars like yours (but from the place you used to suggest), but they – the little ones – are always getting stuck. Is that an issue you have?

    1. deb

      AA — It is exactly the issue I am having. [It’s a mixture of spice that gets caught on the rims and the grime that hangs in the air in kitchens.] How did you know? I’m literally dumping those spice tins today, much to my frustration.

  68. AA

    And have you been able to figure out how to get the spices out of the tins that are stuck? I spent all of last night trying, but to no avail…

  69. I love the luscious, generous, almost messy look to this cake. It sends a serious message to the eater: I love you and I want to share this dessert with you AND I’M NOT HOLDING BACK.

    Can’t wait to try it.

  70. Lizzy C.

    I actually made this last night – and it was delicious. I even messed up the order of how the ingredients go together, and it worked out all right. My boyfriend picked up seedless blackberry jam for the topping, which worked perfectly.

    Instead of roating the walnuts in the oven, I put them in a pan on the stove with a little olive oil and browned them up.

    Had it for breakfast too – it’s not so sweet that you feel yucky having a slice first thing in the morning.

  71. I’ve been perusing your blog, which my mother found, and I’ve completely enjoyed every recipe. I love to cook very similarly to you, but only have a tiny shot-gun kitchen with almost no counter space to work on. Hopefully it won’t be too many years before we can buy a real home. :)
    Congratulations on your boy – he is darling.

  72. Erin

    I just made this with blackcurrant jam sandwiched in the middle, without the whipped cream, but with icing sugar dusted on top. I was tempted to add cinnamon, or chocolate, or both…but it’s perfect as is. Deb and Maggie – thanks for the perfect “just because” cake.

  73. Vanessa

    I made this last night and when the walnuts were done toasting, I thought I may have burnt them. I used them anyway and the cake was fantastic! I used walnut halves so I guess the outside was “well toasted” but they had not, in fact, burnt. I must also confess that I licked the walls of the food processor of any remaining batter as the cake baked.

  74. Ann

    Such a simple recipe, yet so sophisticated! I made it tonight in preparation for a dinner party early next week. So excited to serve this. Thanks, Deb!

  75. I just pulled your cake out of the oven (I’m planning on taking it over to my parent’s house for breakfast tomorrow) and it smells amazing! Can’t wait for tomorrow :D Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  76. Sarah jrslm

    This is the 3rd recipe I have made in a week! Nothing has failed me yet.
    I was a little worried that there did not seem to be enough batter when I was done mixing, but the cake came out beautifully. Dense, and moist! I made this one with margarine too ( I know, I know, but such is life when you keep kosher) and put a chocalate glaze on top. This one will be going in my permanent collection!

    Also– anyone w/out a food processer, I toasted the walnuts and then crushed them with a potato masher, and made the whole thing in a stand mixer. Worked great!

  77. shev

    This looks YUM and I MUST try it with pecan, ummm…

    For K for P (or gluten-free folks), try Dean and Deluca’s flourless Walnut-Chocolate Torte.

  78. Stefanie

    I just made this last night and it’s delightful! I even managed to get my hands on some black currant jam! I opted to keep the whipped topping separate in the hopes that the cake will last longer in the fridge that way (without getting soggy). With just two of us it could take a few days to finish this one (or maybe not…).

  79. Lori

    Wow. Just made this with raspberry jam. LOVE IT!!! Of course, feller wanted it with vanilla bean ice cream–and of course, I didn’t argue.

  80. Ahuva

    I made this cake with a combination of pecans and walnuts, since I didn’t have enough of either. Delicious! A thing layer of raspberry jam coated the top and it gave the cake a great kick. I think less is more, so I didn’t bother with any whipped topping or ice cream. Probably one of my favorite cake recipes of all time, no exaggeration. Thanks a mil.

  81. Moriah

    Can I just tell you I love you? This is the best foodie website. I love to cook and your recipes suit my taste and my Shabbat table to a T.

    Thank you!

  82. Sarah

    In my 45 years it has never occurred to me to add sour cream to whipped cream — and I did, and I will forevermore. It added the the perfect little twangy accent. And the rest of the recipe, which I followed to the letter, produced a perfect dessert. Thank you!
    I’m new to SK and enjoying it hugely–reading you is like sitting down with a fun, talkative, nicely irreverent friend with a great sense of aesthetics.I’ll try to visit often.

  83. Olga

    I made it this weekend. I modified as follows: I applied a thin coat of super-tart currant jam mixed w/ lime juice, let it dry, and then applied a thick coat of ganache. We also put whipped cream on top. One of the best things I’ve eaten in a long, long time. Thanks!

  84. Karen

    Definitely adaptable to gluten free for us celiac folks. I used Gluten Free Pantry’s All Purpose Flour blend. The cake is waiting for us to eat dinner, under a thin layer of chocolate ganache. My kids and husband would, i fear, not understand jam on a cake. Jam, to them, is for toast. Heathens.

  85. this looks absolutely delicious..I love walnuts! i can’t wait to try this..and i will def try the ganache!!! ooh how about a nutella ganache?? yum
    I love your site..i find myself looking through it daily!! lol

  86. Made the cake 2 days in a row, with pecans because I married a psychopath who doesn’t like walnuts. 1st time we had it for breakfast and WHY NOT? I ask, WHY NOT? 2nd time for dessert with a houseguest and then AGAIN for breakfast. I used raspberry jam but must agree with others who are dancing w/delight over the mix of sour and whipping cream. TOO TOO DREAMY. And best of all is the one-bowl deal. GENIUS. Again we bow to you!

  87. Leigh

    Deb, instead of jam you could make a lemon curd, or this lemon jelly that Zerrin from Give Recipe put on her lemon cake.
    when I made the topping I got lazy and just cut up the whole lemon into thin slices and put it in a pot with a small handful of sugar. It was a nice sour counter-balance to the sweet cake. Next time I would peel the lemon and take out the pith first, as it made it a little bitter.
    I’m not sure how this would work with whipped cream, but it could be good with plain yogurt.

  88. Tula

    So walnuts have now been added to tomorrow’s shopping list. I’m thinking that this might taste lovely with a nice maple-cream topping. I’ve always love maple and walnut together. Hmm, maybe some of that maple pumpkin butter(my variation on your recipe) I made last fall would be nice, with a healthy dollop of cream on top. Okay, now I’m officially hungry :-)

  89. Amie Kolesar

    this is officially my one year anniversary recipe with you. I discovered your gloriousness through the black bean tacos and slaw and frankly I’ve been obsessively following you ever since. Thanks to you my friends and family think I’m a great cook.
    Keep it up and thanks for keeping me busy and happy in the kitchen.

  90. Candace

    I’ve never commented on here before (super snooper!) but I just had to make this cake tonight– and it is so good! I used rice flour since my sister is gluten free, and it came out incredibly buttery and light-crumbed. Awesome!

  91. Cathy

    I made this for my hubby’s birthday Thursday and he absolutely loved it! It was a delight to make, and the resulting not too sweet, not too heavy dessert is fabulous! Thanks!

  92. Annie S.

    Not sure what went wrong—it was a little dense and didn’t rise as much as it should have, but I used a hand mixer to make it, and I baked it for the full 35 minutes, and maybe it needed a little less time in the oven. BUT, I feel like this cake definitely has potential and I am willing to try again. (I have a feeling I am at fault, not the recipe.) I love the idea of walnut cake–like Mexican Wedding Cookies in cake form! I took it to a Shabbat dinner/Olympics party last night and my hostess LOVED the idea of the cake’s Kosher-for-Passover possibilities. I used raspberry jam and liked that flavor combo.

  93. So I was THIS close to making this loverly little confection of yours but was totally led astray by the L.A. Times printing an article — and the recipe for — the Momofuku Bakery “Crack Pie.” I don’t live in New York, but the buzz about that silly pie has made it all the way to Manhattan (Beach, in California). That said, I had to make it. Sorry, Anderson Cooper, but I just don’t get it! It was cloyingly sweet, not particularly pretty (but certainly it had that kind of homey, homely appeal) and was just, well, kind of a pain in the hiney to make for something unfabulous! Next time, I’m making THIS bad boy. And maybe LESS whipping cream? Really? REALLY?!

    1. deb

      Carissa — Heh. I live very close to the bakery and find their sweets to be exceedingly, achingly sweet. Conceptually adorable but borderline inedible for me.

  94. Cat

    I made this for a Valentine’s Day dessert party and it was a hit. I took your suggestion of ganache and used Shirley Corriher’s Satin Smooth Ganache Glaze from her “BakeWise” cookbook, replacing the apple jelly with raspberry (because, well, it’s what I had and besides chocolate and raspberry are a classic combo). A great suggestion! The nutty toastedness of the cake paired deliciously with the bittersweet chocolate ganache. Now I have a lot of leftover ganache – and thankfully at least one more bag of walnuts!

  95. ap

    I made this for my grandmother the other day. She’s 88, in failing health & poor spirits, and doesn’t eat much of anything these days. She had 2 servings in rapid succession, and enthusiastically pronounced this the best thing I’ve ever made for her. Thanks Deb.

  96. I’ve made this twice since you posted it. And adapted it to gluten free with buckwheat flour. It was beautiful! The second time, I pretty much changed it into a new cake with lemon zest, almonds instead of walnuts, and almond extract instead of vanilla. Oh, and no jam, just some powdered sugar on top. Amazing both ways. I love the food processor method. This is going to be the cake I reach for whenever cake is called for. Many thanks.

  97. I already left a comment, but I had to come back again and tell you that I’ve made this cake about 5 times since you posted it. I bring it to every party, gathering, card game, etc. just so that I have an excuse to slice a large chunk for myself. It’s delicious! I need to buy more walnuts :D

  98. Wendy S

    The cake was excellent. I thought it might taste a little like a muffin, but no, very cake-like.
    I made it last night, served it tonight with black raspberry jam. I love the sour cream in the whipped cream.
    Now I’m going to try it with matzoh meal flour — or matzoh meal cake flour — to perfect before Passover (thanks for the suggestion).
    My one thing though — an 8 inch pan is small. Have you made a larger version in a 9 inch springform pan, maybe. Would you double the recipe?

  99. Sue

    Just discovered your site and am now fearing for my waistline big time… made the walnut cake today and didn’t fancy the jam so made a butterscotch icing (basically your sauce recipe but thicker) added more walnuts to the top, and served it with whipped cream…

    Also made your arroz con leche but did it with arborio rice and no cinnamon as I’m not a fan and don’t have any lovely Spanish memories to cloud things… it was delish.

    Thanks, and you’re bookmarked!

  100. This cake was Fantastic. Not too sweet, very nutty, and the jam was a great counterpoint to the flavor of the cake. I didn’t have quite enough walnuts, so I added a handful of hazelnuts to come to 4 1/2 ounces… I can’t wait to try other nut combinations! Also, I thought the whipped cream topping would be overkill, so I just used the raspberry jam as a topping, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks so much for the recipe, Deb! It’s simple, quick, unique, delicious, and pretty…. the perfect recipe!

  101. Joanna

    Okay, never mind. I see all the cake comments (and feedback) now. I put my comments on the wrong post – makes sense now.

  102. ana

    Hi. Found your site last week, made your cake last night and just tried it for lunch. It’s utterly delicious even without the jam and cream. I don’t have a food processor so I ground the walnuts in a coffee grinder and there were a few lumps of unground walnut, but I think that made the cake even better. Next time, I’ll try it with hazlenuts.

  103. Mari

    I made this cake a few weeks ago (in my parents’ kitchen, where the food processor is) and it was delicious… even though I forgot to add the baking powder, and it came out rather ugly and really, REALLY flat.

    But I’m glad we tasted it before deciding to trash it. The taste reminded me of a favorite childhood cracker called Royal Creems. We toasted up slivers of it and ate them plain for breakfast, snack, and more snack — crisp on the edges and soft in the centers, as I imagine hand-held bread pudding would be. Yum!

  104. Susan

    This is a wonderful cake, not too sweet, great nubby nutty texture, dead easy, and it tastes great. So far I have made it with almonds, hazelnuts, and of course the walnuts. A half recipe goes nicely in a 6 inch pan and next I will multiply it 2.5X and put it in a 9 x 13″ pan for a party. I haven’t actually tried the jam filling but a chocolate glaze is a nice accompaniment. I may also try splitting it horizontally and filling it with a nut or chocolate/nut or chocolate/raspberry concoction.

  105. Melange

    Deb–I’ve made this several times now, and can attest that it works with multiple kinds of ground nuts (i.e. whatever is lurking at the back of the fridge), and it also behaves well in my fancy European pan–the one that curves between side and top. Even better, Europeans who don’t like American cakes think that this one is Just Lovely.

  106. Christina

    I absolutely loved this – it was such a unique little cake, and really tasty. I’m not big into whipped cream, but the addition of the sour cream made it just right. Best of all, it was SO easy and came together in just a few minutes with simple ingredients and ONE bowl! I’ll definitely be making this one again.

  107. Katharine

    I finally tried making this cake after drooling at the pictures for about three months straight, and while it was absolutely wonderful it wasn’t quite what I expected. I was anticipating something a little more dense and – how dare I – less buttery. Could it maybe have to do with my lack of a food processor, and instead grinding the nuts in our blender? I don’t know how fine they’re supposed to be, but mine were like a very coarse meal, not quite into tiny-pebble territory. Any other suggestions to arrive at my different texture idea?

  108. Laura

    I’ve been ogling this recipe for weeks, saving it up for a special occasion. Tonight’s special occasion is a friend visiting from out of town who I haven’t seen in years… and who is a poor soul unable to eat gluten, dairy, or corn products (or xanthum gum)! And I’m thinking of attempting this cake!

    So could someone tell me:
    (1) If I can use a 1/4 cup GF all purpose flour WITHOUT xanthum gum?
    (2) Can I use a stick of shortening instead of butter or margarine? Even Earth Balance margarine has corn products in it. :(
    (3) Or should I *really* just not press my luck with this one?

    Thanks folks! Hopefully someone with a masters in food chemistry will serendipitously happen to see this in the next few hours!

  109. Laura

    An update, in case others out there are plagued with similar food allergies: though the food chemistry expert did not appear, I tried it anyway with quite good success and the following substitutions:

    For the butter: 1 stick crisco butter flavor baking sticks + 2 TBSP water
    For the flour: 1/2 cup rice flour
    For the baking powder (contains corn starch): 2 parts cream of tartar to one part baking powder
    corn-syrup free raspberry preserves
    whipped cream on the side

    The only downside was that, I think, rice flour is not as effective as normal flour when flouring a pan, because the cake fell out in two pieces even though it was almost completely cooled. Nothing that some squishing together and a layer of jam couldn’t fix, though. And it was DELICIOUS! And my friend was DELIGHTED!

  110. I made this yesterday for a 4th of July party, it was the first time I’ve made a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, it was fantastic, and I ended up changing the recipe in a way that turned out so well I wanted to share.

    I knew that I didn’t want to serve it with a topping so I wanted to add fruit flavor to the cake. I took ~1/4 of a cup of finely chopped fruit (mix of dried apricot and candied ginger), packed, soaked it in bourbon for 24 hours (just enough to cover the fruit ~2tbsp), and added that to the batter.

    The fruit was nice, but not that strong a flavor, but the bourbon was fantastic!

    We ate the cake just after if had finished cooling, about 4 hours out of the oven, and the whole cake tasted like bourbon, without having much alcohol in it at all.

    It was a bit of an accident, I was just trying to add a fruit flavor, but the walnut-bourbon cake was better than I could have expected.

    Also I cut the butter and eggs by a third and didn’t miss that at all. It was still a rich cake, with the walnut base, but a little lighter which was good since with six people we finished it off pretty easily.

  111. Having read your Vermontucky Lemonade recipe, and confirmed that you like bourbon, I definitely recommend trying the walnut-bourbon cake idea.

    Part of what makes it work so well, in addition to the fact that it’s a good flavor combination, is the general richness/density of the cake helps it stand up to a strong flavor without being overwhelmed.

  112. Nigel

    Not sure if you’ll ever see this note, but I have to let you know that this is one of the best (and easiest!) cakes I’ve ever made. So good I’ve made it twice in the past week and a half. Can’t wait for your book.

  113. A friend of mine made this with a few tweaks, one of which was using pecans instead of walnuts. I made it that way as our Thanksgiving dessert, with a little whipped cream and some Fruit of the Forest preserves.

    It was delish!

  114. bell

    Hi Deb – another great recipe! I made this today using a ganache topping and it was delicious. It’s incredibly moist. I also made if gluten free and it worked perfectly. Thanks!

  115. I made it last night and like Annie S., I was also disappointed by the rise. It was a bit dense, but still very good. Might try separating the eggs and folding in the whites for a lighter cake?

  116. susie

    Just made this on the weekend after looking at it off and on for a year or so. No idea what took me so long, but it will not be that long before I make it again. Took minutes to put together and was absolutely delicious–nutty, rich, etc. I used a chocolate glaze rather than the jam and whipped cream, and can say it worked very well. Will make two cakes next time and sandwich it with something (honey and chopped nuts? mascarpone and coffee?) as I think it would make a lovely celebration cake if doubled as well. Thanks!

  117. I’ve now made this approximately a dozen times since you posted it several years ago. Some times I used pecans, sometimes I’ve swapped the flour for a gluten free mix, sometimes it used all the toppings and sometimes I served the cake naked with a jar of home made plum jam on the side. One time I made mini rounds of it and served it with poached apricot halves and scoops of mascarpone ice cream. And each and every time it has come out amazing. I just wanted to come back and say thank you, thank you, thank you for unearthing this gem and making it irresistible.

  118. Anne

    Hi Deb, I have two questions on this cake. What do you think about slicing it in two, putting the jam in the middle then assembling it back together? Do you think n it would be good? Also I often see cakes that use nuts like pistachios or hazelnuts add a bit of almond extract in the cake – do you know why that is and should i try the same here? Very grateful for any advice.

  119. Elizabeth

    This was the hit of our Passover seder! Used almond flour instead of all-purpose, and doubled the cake recipe and made it a layer cake with raspberry jam as filling between the layers. Thanks for the great recipe.

  120. I have now made this cake at least six times, and it has always been completely delicious. When I feel up to washing a few more dishes, I grind the nuts/sugar/butter in the food processor, beat the eggs separately in the stand-mixer with the whisk attachment, then whisk the nut mixture into the frothy eggs, and finally fold in the dry ingredients. I find this makes the cake a little lighter and rise a bit higher. But when I’m feeling lazy, I make it in the food processor, as directed, and while a bit denser, it is still flavor-packed and fantastic. I’m a fan of the chocolate puddle topping (the 3 oz chocolate/3 tablespoons heavy cream mixture is great), topped with yet more chopped, toasted walnuts! Thanks for a keeper of a recipe.

  121. The cake looks and sounds delicious! I agree it seems like it should be the star of the show, perhaps with just a simple (THIN LAYER) of buttercream icing. However, having just said that, I would also totally be tempted to whip up some homemade custard and pour that all over. (But then, there is little I am not tempted to pour homemade custard over.)

  122. Larry Gordon

    I made this twice last week and it was devoured entirely both times.
    It is simple to prepare and the results are impressive and utterly delicious.

  123. Julie

    One of my goals this year is to make one of your everyday cakes every week until I can’t stand cake anymore…which probably won’t happen anytime soon. I’ve tried 3-4 and they’ve all been so delightful, so I wanted to go through the whole list. Happy I started with this one—currently enjoying it with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack (a 3 PM pick-me-up, as I’ve decided to call it) at my dreary work desk. It is so soft and perfectly rich, and perfectly simple. Thank you, Deb.

  124. Jenn

    I’ve made this cake countless times and just tried it with Bob’s red mill gluten-free all purpose flour (using the equivalent weight) and it came out perfectly.

    1. Jonathan

      @ Jenn – that is good to know about the Gluten free flour mix. I had thought about subbing White Rice flour by weight for the all-purpose flour since its only a 1/2 cup after reading through Flavor Flours book.

  125. lisa

    Thanks Deb for the excellent recipe. You are always reliable!!
    For this one i wanted to skip the jam and cream, so instead threw in a pear chopped up in small cubes and added a thinly sliced pear on top. Needed a little extra cooking time but worked a treat.

  126. Stephanie

    I made this tonight with roasted hazelnuts and a chocolate whipped cream, with a little mascarpone to stabilize it. It tastes like Nutella and butter—-delicious!

  127. Cedar

    I’ve made this at least three times – with walnuts, peanuts and now hazelnuts. Each time delicious. I just vary the flavor of jam.

  128. Kay Ellyn Skoglund

    I made the cake ahead a couple days ago. Topped it with currant jam and served the cream next to it yesterday. I had a bit left over this morning with coffee. It was lovely both times. I will make this again. Oh, and I used Cup4cup!!

  129. Rachel

    Made this tonight and it’s delicious! No walnuts at home so I substituted pecans. Only have a 9” cake pan- cake was done at 25 mins. Blueberry lemon preserves (so didn’t add the extra lemon). Served with a dollop of the tangy cream at the end instead of smothering the top. Dense and satisfying. Will repeat eat for breakfast tomorrow.

  130. k

    Sometimes, I can’t leave well enough alone, so I added a pinch each of ground green cardamom and ground anise seed to the batter. Also split the baked 9” round and filled it with freshly-made blueberry sauce, then topped it with the cream cloud, making swirls with the purple-sauced-spoon. It’s awfully pretty, and once I cut into it, I think it’ll taste nice, too.

    1. k

      It’s delicious, and light-bodied, too, even made with white whole wheat flour. I know many of us SK cooks & bakers love the summer berry cakes here, but I think cakes like this are hot-weather winners. When using a food processor, this cake comes together in minutes (not even requiring softened butter!), bakes fairly quickly, and is crowned by quick and nearly fuss-free toppings. The kitchen doesn’t need to heat much at all. In the end it was well worth breaking into my freezer nut stash!

  131. heidipie

    I messed around with this recipe a lot, and its essential goodness held up! I was able to substitute the flour with more toasted nuts (I used pecans) and the butter with oil (a mix of olive, vegetable and walnut oils). AND I made it as an upside-down cake with nectarines and blueberries. It totally rocked, and the outer edge of the cake was a chewy caramelized nutty dream. Thank you for this!