I bet everyone’s grandma has some special cake recipe that they made when everyone visited. For me, it was Grandma Claire’s Vintage Nut Cake. This was an old-fashioned nut cake that had all the classic ingredients in it and could be a little bit of a mystery experience as to what nuts had been used!
Making this cake with nuts is simple and doesn’t require any special equipment – just your classic baking essentials. You can make a tasty cream cheese frosting or even experiment with different toppings.
Does nut cake need to have frosting?
If you prefer, you don’t need to add frosting or a glaze, Grandma Claire often served it as just a nut cake without anything on it. So it is up to you how you want to decorate it. You can leave it as a plain cake with nuts and it will still be delicious.
Or you could make an adult’s only version by poking a few holes in and drizzling with a little apple cider, bourbon, or rum.
- Salted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Chopped nuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
You can use any type of nuts in the recipe, we like pecans or walnuts but feel free to experiment. It is an old-fashioned cake recipe that is great for using up what you have in your store cupboard.
You can also add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or allspice if you like. Add it at the point where you mix the flour with the baking powder.
How to make Grandma Claire’s Vintage Nut Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350oF. Prepare two 8-inch baking pans with a baking spray (or you can use a 9 x 13 pan if you prefer).
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing thoroughly.
- In a small bowl, mix the baking powder with the flour.
- Start adding the flour into the batter, one-third at a time and mixing completely before adding another one-third. Repeat until all of the flour is mixed in.
- Add half of the milk and mix.
- Add the final one-third of the flour and then the last of the milk.
- Scrape the bowl thoroughly to make sure everything is mixed together then spread the batter into the baking pan.
- Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove and allow to cool before taking out of the pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese then mix in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Spread across the cooled cake.
If you use the two pans, it can be a good idea to add some parchment paper to the bottom as this makes it easier to take the cake out once cooked.
Can you adapt this into a fruit cake?
You can adapt this into a variation of a fruit and nut cake. Use some dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, or dates which are a little ‘plump’ – in other words, you boil them in water to make them a little moist first. Strain the liquid before using them in the cake.
How do you store nut cake?
If you add frosting, I would definitely keep it in the refrigerator if storing long-term. Keep any exposed cake parts covered to keep the cake from drying out.
There is enough sugar in the frosting that it will be preserved and ok if left at room temperature for a couple of hours.
MORE OLD FASHIONED DESSERTS YOUR GUESTS WILL LOVE
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Grandma Claire’s Vintage Nut Cake
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup chopped nuts I prefer pecans or walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup Butter softened
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese softened
- 3 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Prepare 2 8-inch pans, or a 9X13 pan, by spraying with baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Scrape the bowl if necessary and mix again.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
- Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter and mix to combine.
- Add 1/2 of the milk and mix to combine, Scrape the bowl if necessary.
- Add another 1/3 of the flour, mix in and scrape the bowl if necessary.
- Add the rest of the milk and mix.
- Add the last of the flour mixture and mix until completely mixed in.
- Scrape the bowl, add the nuts, and mix one last time.
- Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan(s).
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake(s) comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the pan or frosting.
Nut Cake Frosting
- In mixing bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix until combined and creamy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until completely smooth. Ice cooled cake.
- If using 2 8-inch pans for a layer cake, add a layer of parchment paper to the bottom of the pans so it is easier to remove from the pan.
- Claire served this cake without frosting or glaze, so it can be omitted.
- Any type of nuts can be used. My favorite is pecans or walnuts.
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or allspice can be added. Add with the flour and baking powder.