Spiced Walnut Cake
I love carrot cake, I really do. But shredding all those carrots? That’s not really my idea of a fun and relaxing baking sesh. I imagine that’s why I’d make a really lousy line cook and why my future in the restaurant business looks bleak. I mean, I’m willing to knead dough for several minutes, or dice pungent onions, but please don’t make me peel and grate carrots. I love you, carrots, I do…but I just tend to love you more once you’re in a finished cake, you know? And for this reason, I don’t make carrot cake very often. I do, however, love all those wonderful spices that you find in carrot cake, as well as the surprise raisins and nuts you’ll often find in a traditional slice. That’s why I tend to make a lot of spiced cakes when this time of the year rolls around. With this spiced walnut cake, I get all of my favorite things about carrot cake sans the effort of peeling and grating those pesky carrots.
All those delicious fall spices are in a moist and tender cake made just for the kind of girl that can’t be bothered with tedious prep work. Clearly, I can be a lazy girl at times; I hope you can relate. Best of all, this spiced walnut cake is fabulous with cream cheese frosting. In fact, I demand you serve this cake with a cream cheese frosting. After all, isn’t that why we all love fall cakes anyways? I love the slight tang that cream cheese lends to sweet buttercream frosting.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves give this cake its distinct “spiced” flavor, while the raisins and chopped walnuts provide lovely texture against the tender crumb. I usually like to decorate cakes like this with a “naked” look, merely frosting the tops of the cake layers rather than the sides. I’d rather get thick frosting in between then a light smear all over; I’m sure you agree. This spiced walnut cake smells and tastes so incredible, I promise no one will be missing the carrots!
Spiced Walnut Cake
A moist and delicately spiced cake studded with walnuts and decorated in cream cheese frosting.
- 1/2 cup raisins, plus 2 tbsp more for garnishing
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, plus 2 tbsp more for garnishing
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 1/4 cup flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
for the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, or more/less to taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- splash of milk, if needed to loosen up frosting
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare two 6-inch cake pans by greasing them and dusting them with flour.
- In a medium bowl, combine the raisins and walnuts with the boiled water and baking soda. Give everything a stir and let this mixture rest while you prepare the batter.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix again until combined. Add lemon juice and vanilla; then mix.
- Add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt. Give everything a mix until it’s all blended in. Add the bowl full of water, raisins, and walnuts, then mix until it’s all combined.
- Distribute the batter among the two pans and bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before flipping them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, create the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla until frosting is smooth and creamy. Add a splash of milk if you feel like you need to loosen up the frosting.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting over one layer of cake. Top with the second cake layer; smooth remaining frosting over the top of this layer. Center the extra raisins and chopped walnuts on top of the cake.
The baking soda (which is dissolved in the boiling water) helps soften and moisten the raisins and walnuts.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519
Hi there, your cake looks amazing – quick question regarding the flour you use in this recipe. In Australia we use either plain (all purpose) flour or self raising flour – which one is used in this recipe as it’s not specified and I’d love to try making it! .
Hi! Do you think this recipe would work in a bundt pan? Thanks, looks delicious!
Hi Katie! Yes you could definitely make this in a bundt pan! You might have to bake the cake for longer, probably 45 min plus (rather than 30 or so minutes). But keep checking on the cake every 7 minutes or so after the 35 minute mark.
Also, are you still planning to do a cream cheese frosting? If you wanted to do a glaze, I highly suggest a cream cheese glaze like the one done in this recipe: http://www.monpetitfour.com/brioche-rolls/ 🙂
Hope you enjoy! I love this one!
I am with you on this one Beeta, I hate grating a mound of carrots ( I have to admit I just pop them in the food processor using the grater attachment!) I’m a huge fan of walnut cake, I so want a slice of this now, just gorgeous!
A good grater is always awesome! My food processor’s attachment shreds them to bits rather than truly shred them like a manual grater, so I can never use that option 🙁 But this spice cake never makes me feel like I’m missing out! Thanks love <3
Hi there! I am making this cake for my sister in law and need to prep everything a day early. What do you suggest to keep everything moist? I’m thinking keep the frosting separate until I’m close to serving, any suggestions for how to store the cake?
Hi Hailey, I would wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store on the counter overnight. Then I would frost the cake the same day. I usually store frosted cakes like this in a covered cake stand. It’s the best kind of dish to protect frosted cakes from drying out too much in the fridge.
This cake is gorgeous, Beeta! I love the "naked" style for frosting cakes, too, and this is done here beautifully! Wish I could have a slice right now!! 🙂
Thank you, Sam! Wish I could share a slice with you too! <3
A beautiful cake. You’re very talented. I wouldn’t make a good ine cook either, or chef.
Thank you so much, Mimi! I think we’d both take cake over working the line any day! 😉
As much as I love carrot cake, grating the carrots is not my favorite part either. Love that this cake has all those spices! It looks gorgeous and the walnuts are perfect!
Thank you, Kelly! The spices really do brighten up this cake and give it the autumn feel we all embrace this time of the year <3
Girrrl, I completely want to get in my kitchen and bake a cake posthaste! Forget carrot cake, who needs it when I have this staring me down?! All those spices, walnuts, raisins and that cream cheese frosting… And okay, I get the carrot thing, but Beeta, you are not lazy! Good Grief! The naked cake is stunning and so less tedious than crumb coating and icing an entire cake! I’ll do this when I’m feeling lazy! hehe… lets call this the lazy girl’s cake! Thank you for this my dear! Just gorgeous!
Lol thanks Traci! I feel ridiculous saying I hate to grate carrots, but I can’t lie! They’re just not firm and easy to peel like an apple, for example. They’re all thin and flimsy, weirdly shaped…makes it difficult to peel and grate them. And I love the title for this cake that you came up with…The Lazy Girl’s Cake is perfect!!! <3
Oh my gosh I agree grating carrots is the absolute worst part of making a carrot cake. I love the idea of making a spiced cake without it and adding walnuts for crunch. Sounds fantastic Beeta!
Thanks so much, Kelley! I love the walnuts too! 🙂