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Maple-Walnut Layer Cake with Easy Maple Frosting

by in Mar 2013
Maple-Walnut Layer Cake with Easy Maple Frosting
8 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (84% score)
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Total Time: 1

Yield: 12 servings

This towering cake is a real old-fashioned treat, as delicious as it is charming. Sour cream and toasted walnuts give it a rich, nutty flavor; the maple syrup gives it a warm, sweet finish.

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Maple-Walnut Layer Cake with Easy Maple Frosting
Photo/Art by Michael Piazza

For the cake:


  • 1-1/2 cups walnut halves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for pans
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus extra for pans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans.
First, prepare the walnuts: In a medium-size skillet over medium heat, toast nuts lightly until light brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool nuts; then pulse in a blender or food processor until nuts have the texture of bulgur. Set aside.
Next, make the cake: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. In another bowl, beat eggs and yolks lightly with vanilla; then add to butter mixture and beat until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a fourth bowl, whisk together maple syrup, milk, and sour cream; set aside.
Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture and stir until just moistened; then add one-third of the maple/sour-cream mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are combined. Gently fold in walnuts. Divide batter among the three prepared cake pans. Bake 30 minutes, or until cake springs back to the touch.

For the frosting:


  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnish: walnut halves


Meanwhile, make the frosting: Put syrup in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cream together butter and cream cheese; then add sugar and mix well. Add cooled reduced syrup, cream, and vanilla; beat until smooth.
When cakes are done, cool them in their pans 30 to 45 minutes. Then remove from pans, layer, and frost. Garnish with walnut halves.

Updated Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

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2 Responses to Maple-Walnut Layer Cake with Easy Maple Frosting

  1. Chris May 15, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Made this cake last night. I followed the directions exactly. Cake turned out great. Icing was another story. I reduced the syrup as directed and the reduction completely crystalized upon cooling. If you are making this icing I would suggest using 2 tbsp of maple cream or maple flavoring and skip the syrup reduction part.

    • Sherry June 3, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      I was just reading the recipe thinking what a waste of 1 whole cup of maple syrup. I was wondering about using the maple flavoring also. Sounds like a better option. And definitely more cost effective.

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