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Maple Walnut Cake

This maple-flavored cake with candied walnuts honors my grandpa, who made maple syrup. —Lori Fee, Middlesex, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Bake: 15 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring or maple syrup
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 3 greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in maple flavoring. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 11-13 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • For candied walnuts, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; saute walnuts until toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Spread onto foil; cool completely.
  • For frosting, beat butter until creamy. Beat in maple flavoring and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar and enough cream to reach desired consistency.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup candied walnuts and drizzle with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Repeat layers.
  • Top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Top with remaining walnuts and syrup.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 653 calories, 38g fat (20g saturated fat), 116mg cholesterol, 275mg sodium, 75g carbohydrate (61g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

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  • sandyc1940
    Dec 12, 2019

    I have only made this cake 1 time, but will make it many more times. The flavor was wonderful. I did change the frosting though and made a Brown Sugar maple flavored butter cream frosting. This hit the spot with everyone I served it to.

  • CrazyCatLadyForever
    Sep 25, 2019

    HELP! My husband is allergic to buttermilk! Is it possible to substitute something else?? Thanks in advance!

  • four4niers
    Feb 12, 2019

    This is such a wonderful cake! I've been making it for years, and it continues to be one of my favorite go-to layer cakes. I use maple extract for the cake, but I use pure maple syrup for the frosting. I add about 3 teaspoons of maple syrup in the frosting to get the maple flavor that I like. And to answer jessieg's question below, yes, the layers bake quickly when using three 9" cake pans. I prefer thicker cake layers, so I bake the layers in 8" pans which takes ust a little bit longer.

  • jessieg
    Feb 12, 2019

    Can someone please clarify - could it possibly be right to make the cake for only 11-13 minutes??

  • Jane
    Dec 31, 2017

    This cake was one of the best cakes I have ever made! So delicious, moist and creamy. Definitely will be making it again. Today, as a matter of fact; my daughter's birthday!!! Loved the maple glaze between the layers. Maple buttery frosting is to die for! Yummy all around.

  • ninarae99
    Oct 27, 2017

    This is an excellent cake. It is very buttery and sweet. I might reduce the butter in the frosting next time. I made it for my husband's bday and it was a crowd pleaser.

  • Tweetybrd5808
    Oct 24, 2015

    Great all around...perfect........I have carpotunnel , next time can I use a 9X13 pan? please let meknow cooking time, heat ? Thank you: [email protected]

  • bcrentalal
    Nov 26, 2014

    This cake looks great, but we didn't enjoy the taste. Not enough maple, not enough walnuts, icing tasted more like snow ice cream.

  • Bixels
    Nov 21, 2014

    My husband remembers maple walnut cake that mama used to make. Mama isn't around to provide instructions, so I make a different recipe every birthday.I followed this recipe exactly, using Boyajian pure maple flavor (not supermarket extract). The cake was light and tender, but husband didn't think it was mapley enough. If I make this again I'll use more maple flavor.The candied walnuts were a nice combination of sweet and salty with a buttery crunch. They got lost between the layers, but were good on the top.The frosting was very, very buttery and fluffy. Not mapley enough. Won't make this again.The assembly called for drizzling the syrup on top of the icing, between layers and on the top. On the top, the syrup ended up in one puddle. Not attractive. I'd recommend brushing the syrup directly on the cake layers (imbibing the syrup). Also, following the photo, I mounded the candied walnuts in the center of the top of the cake. Looked nice, but impossible to cut. Just sprinkle them evenly over the top.

  • suebg
    Nov 12, 2014

    cake very good....... "old fashion good"........................... how many cupcakes? temp? time? thank you