This delicious chocolate walnut cake is incredibly moist, fluffy, and chocolatey! It's topped with a remarkably decadent fudge frosting!
Rich, moist, chocolatey and nutty! This simple, chocolate nut cake has it all! But what I love the most, though, is that it is so quick and easy to make!
This cake is for you if you want an easy chocolate walnut cake recipe!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- It’s simple to make. If you've ever wanted to learn how to make chocolate walnut cake at home, you'll love this recipe because it's so incredibly easy! No mixer necessary for the cake, just a whisk!
- No decorating skills required. Since this is a single layer cake, it’s so much easier to decorate! Just bake the cake and add the frosting on top!
- Perfect as a snack. One simple layer means this recipe makes a perfect snack cake, with or without frosting!
- It's so moist! This is a very simple moist chocolate cake recipe that you'll be making time and again!
- It can be adapted for a sheet pan. I’ve made this recipe in a sheet pan, too, for more servings. The recipe is versatile and easily customizable.
What does this chocolate walnut cake taste like?
This is a moist walnut cake that is rich and full of chocolate flavor! It's not overly sweet and the walnuts in the cake and on the top really go nicely with the chocolate! The fudge frosting is to die for! It's rich, fudgy and really simple to make and complements the cake perfectly!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CHOCOLATE AND WALNUT CAKE RECIPE
Ingredients for walnut chocolate cake
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: You only need about ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder. I use Dutch-process cocoa powder for a more intense chocolate flavor and dark color. Not sure what the difference is between Dutch-process cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder? Learn about it here!
- Sugar: I use regular, white, granulated sugar for the cake, and powdered sugar for the frosting.
- Flour: I use all purpose flour.
- Walnuts: I add chopped walnuts to the batter and then I sprinkle some over the frosting.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: I use both for this cake to give the cake a nice lift.
- Strong brewed coffee: I use a little strong coffee to enhance the chocolate. You don’t taste the coffee at all in the cake, but if you don't want coffee, you can replace it with hot water.
- Egg: I use 1 whole egg.
- Oil: Instead of butter, I use a light vegetable oil which helps to make it super moist!
- Milk: I use some low-fat milk, but you could use regular.
- Chocolate: I use semisweet chocolate for the frosting. You could use your favorite dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, too.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for the frosting.
- Salt: I use a bit to enhance everything, as usual.
Using hot coffee “blooms” the chocolate. This basically means that it really enhances and brings out the chocolate flavor and makes it more intense. You can also bloom the chocolate with hot water, instead.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE WALNUT CAKE
Grease an 8 inch pan and line it with parchment paper.
Now, it's time to bloom the cocoa powder! In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and coffee together. Set it aside to cool.
In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil and the cocoa/coffee mixture. Make sure everything is well combined and smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
Fold in the chopped walnuts, but don't overmix.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake. Let the cake cool completely before topping it with the fudge frosting.
HOW TO MAKE FUDGE FROSTING
Chop the dark chocolate and then melt it either over a double boiler or in 10-15 increments in the microwave. Set it aside to cool.
Using a hand mixer, beat the butter together with the cocoa powder and sugar until it's creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooled melted dark chocolate and beat again until it's smooth.
Add the milk and continue beating until it's creamy and your desired consistency. For thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar, for thinner frosting, add more milk, half a tablespoon at a time.
Then dollop the cooled cake with the frosting and sprinkle with some more chopped walnuts!
Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
You can easily freeze this cake WITH the frosting (or without), either whole, or in slices! Just place the cake in the freezer for a couple of hours, unwrapped. Then, once the frosting is frozen solid, take it out of the freezer and wrap the entire cake (or slices) with plastic wrap and then some aluminum foil. After that, I put it in a large freezer bag or freezer-safe container. You can freeze it for up to about 2 months.
How to thaw a frozen frosted cake
I put the cake in the refrigerator overnight and then I let each slice come to room temperature before serving.
Instead of a round cake, you can easily make a chocolate walnut loaf cake by using a loaf pan, instead!
Or, you can double the ingredients and make a sheet cake!
If you like the combination of vanilla and chocolate, you could add a teaspoon vanilla extract to the wet ingredients.
Instead of fudge frosting, you can just dust the cake with powdered sugar.
You could also sprinkle the top of the cake with some finely ground walnuts.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Try and get the best quality chocolate you can. It will really produce the best results.
- Blooming the chocolate makes such a difference in this cake! I use this technique for many of my chocolate recipes. If you'd like to learn more about this technique, check out my post here.
- I like chopping the walnuts by hand so I can control how large I want the pieces to be. If, however, you want finely chopped walnuts, you can chop them in a food processor.
- Raw walnuts are best for this recipe rather than roasted. I sometimes shell them myself with a nutcracker!
- My family loves this cake with a lot of fudge frosting, as you can see in the pictures. If you don’t want so much frosting, you can easily halve the frosting recipe.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This cake will last for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Make sure it's either stored in an airtight container or tightly wrapped with plastic wrap before refrigerating.
I really love semisweet chocolate for this cake as it has a cocoa range of about 60%, so it's not that bitter. However, you could use bittersweet chocolate, instead.
Adding some light vegetable oil to the batter makes a very moist and tender cake! This cake is not dry at all!
HOW TO SERVE CHOCOLATE WALNUT CAKE
To me, this cake is best served at room temperature because the fudge frosting is soft and creamy. If you serve it cold, straight out of the fridge, the frosting solidifies and is a bit hard.
I hope you love this recipe for chocolate walnut cake as much as I do!
Let me know how this chocolate walnut cake turns out for you below and consider leaving a recipe rating!
OTHER CAKE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE!
Chocolate Walnut Cake
- 1 8 inch pan
For the cake
- ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon (28g / 1 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup (125ml / 4 fl oz) hot strong coffee (or hot water)
- 1 cup (127g / 4.5oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (200g / 7oz) sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium egg, room temperature
- ½ cup (125ml / 4 fl oz) milk
- ¼ cup (60ml / 2 fl oz) light vegetable oil
- ½ cup (65g / 2.3 oz) chopped walnuts + 1-2 tablespoons extra for garnish
For the fudge frosting
- 4.4 oz / 125g semisweet chocolate
- ⅔ cup (150g / 5.29 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup + 1½ tablespoons (120g / 4.2 oz) powdered sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tablespoon milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Grease an 8 inch pan and line it with parchment paper.
Bloom the cocoa powder
- In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and hot coffee (or hot water) together. Set it aside to cool.
Make the cake
- In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil and the cocoa/coffee mixture. Make sure everything is well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and whisk until it's smooth.
- Fold in the chopped walnuts, but don't overmix.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before topping it with the fudge frosting.
Make the fudge frosting
- Chop the dark chocolate and then melt it either over a double boiler or in 10-15 increments in the microwave. Set it aside to cool.
- In another bowl, beat the butter together with the cocoa powder and sugar using a hand mixer until it's creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cooled, melted dark chocolate and beat again until it's smooth.
- Add the milk and continue beating until it's creamy and your desired consistency. For thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar, for thinner frosting, add more milk, half a tablespoon at a time.
- Then dollop the cooled cake with the frosting and make swirls using the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
- Sprinkle some more chopped walnuts all over the frosting.
- Every oven is different, so baking times may vary. Check on the cake after about 25 minutes.