Whipped cream frosting keeps this cake lighter than other desserts. 4 Layer Walnut Cake is an easy semi-homemade dessert filled with black walnut flavor.
We are a divided home. I have half of the house who loves nutty desserts. And the other half of the house who won’t touch cookies or a cake with nuts. Tell me I’m not alone in this struggle.
The cake we’re talking about today does have nuts. Black walnuts to be exact. Black walnuts are in a nut category of their own. The have a unique flavor that my husband loves. BUT… you can make this cake with English walnuts…or leave them out altogether to make your family happy!
What do black walnuts taste like?
Black walnuts give your taste buds an awakening. Although English walnuts tend to be mild, black walnuts have a strong, earthy, bittersweet flavor that is very distinct. Some love it, some hate it. You’ll have to try it to find out for yourself.
Can I use regular walnuts instead of black walnuts? Yes, you can! English walnuts (AKA “regular walnuts”) work just as well in this recipe.
Doctored Yellow Cake Mix
This cake recipe starts with a box cake mix. I know, some of you will hate that and send me nasty emails about it. But listen. Shortcuts are ok sometimes. Everyone needs one every now and then.
For this cake we started with a yellow cake mix and added just a touch of different ingredients than the back of the box calls for. It adds flavor and makes the cake taste a little more homemade.
Can I use homemade yellow cake in this recipe? Definitely. If you have a favorite homemade yellow cake recipe, use that. It should be a recipe that makes a cake large enough to fill two 8″ round cake pans so you can split the cakes as the recipe states.
How to Make 4 Layer Walnut Cake
- Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8″ round cake pans generously with shortening, then dust with flour.
- Mix. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, sugar, oil, milk, eggs and extract. Mix for two minutes using a hand mixer or stand mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the black walnuts.
- Bake. Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Remove. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then run a knife along the outside of the pans to loosen the cakes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Split. Once the cakes are cool, use a long knife to split each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers.
Homemade Whipped Cream
I adapted this recipe from an old church cookbook. The original recipe called for Cool Whip. Now we are not against Cool Whip, and if you want a quick easy topping, skip the homemade whipped cream and open a tub of whipped topping.
If you’re looking for the real deal, you might be surprised at how easy it is to make. The key to homemade whipped cream is to make sure everything is very cold. The cream AND the bowl. Make sure the cream comes right from the refrigerator. And pop the bowl into the fridge at least 20 minutes before making the whipped cream.
Whipped cream works best if you use a stand mixer. It’s easy to mix that way and you’ll be sure to get those nice strong peaks.
How to Store Cake with Whipped Cream
Cake with freshly whipped cream (or Cool Whip for that matter) needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Keep it in a cake carrier or an airtight container.
Can I use vanilla buttercream instead?
4 Layer Walnut Cake
For the cake:
- 1 box yellow cake mix (We used Duncan Hines)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely chopped black walnuts
For the whipped cream:
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream (very cold)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8" round cake pans generously with shortening, then dust with flour.
Make the cake:
- In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, sugar, oil, milk, eggs and extract.
- Mix for two minutes using a hand mixer or stand mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Fold in the black walnuts.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then run a knife along the outside of the pans to loosen the cakes.
- Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cakes are cool, use a long knife to split each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers.
Make the whipped cream:
- *Homemade whipped cream works best if the cream and mixing bowl are very cold. Refrigerate the mixing bowl for at least 20 minutes before making the whipped cream.*
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until it is stiff and can hold peaks. This will take several minutes of mixing.
Assemble the cake:
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate.
- Top with 1/4 of the whipped cream.
- Repeat with the other 4 layers. Sprinkle nuts between the layers if you'd like, or garnish the top with nuts.
- Store this cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve it the day you make it.