Italian
Italian Nut Cake

One of the delicious treasures of Italian pastry making is Torta alle Noci, also known as Torta alle Noce. Made with just 8 ingredients, it’s the perfect Italian cake for any occasion. Serve it with just a sprinkling of icing sugar and a rich, strong espresso.

Italy is known for its regional cakes, from the Classic Ciambellone to the Ciambella Romagnola to the Torta Tenerina!

Walnut cake on a cake stand with a slice on a white plate.Walnut cake on a cake stand with a slice on a white plate.

The origins of the Italian walnut cake

Italian walnut cake, or “walnut cake,” originates in Italian regions, where nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts are grown in abundance. Each region has its own take on the pie, using locally grown nuts and traditional cooking methods passed down from generation to generation. This cake is often served at parties or family gatherings.

Why we loved this walnut cake

  • Peanuts – we loved the delicious flavor the walnuts gave the cake and also helped keep it soft and moist.
  • Easy to do – this cake was easy to make with most of the ingredients I had on hand.
  • Simple – It was a simple cake that needed no frosting or frosting, like most Italian cakes a simple dusting of icing sugar was enough.
  • Versatile – perfect as a breakfast or brunch cake, a wonderful cake to serve to guests at dinner or even for an afternoon visit with tea or coffee.

Ingredients for the cake

  • Eggs: Large eggs at room temperature
  • Butter – softened butter
  • Sugar – granulated sugar
  • Walnuts – I used walnuts
  • Flour: All-purpose or cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla – vanilla extract
  • Salt – if using unsalted butter add a little more salt
Ingredients for the recipe.Ingredients for the recipe.

For room temperature ingredients: Remove from refrigerator 45-60 minutes before using.

How to make an Italian walnut cake

This cake is really easy and delicious to prepare as you can see in the photos, for the full list of ingredients and instructions scroll to the bottom of the page to see the recipe card.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.

The dry ingredients blended in a bowl.The dry ingredients blended in a bowl.

In a blender or food processor add the chopped nuts and sugar, blend until finely chopped.

Walnuts in a food processor and finely chopped.Walnuts in a food processor and finely chopped.

In a bowl or stand mixer, beat the remaining sugar and butter until creamy, then add the vanilla, egg and egg yolk one at a time.

Beat the butter and sugar and add the eggs and vanilla.Beat the butter and sugar and add the eggs and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and beat to combine, add the nuts and mix.

Added the dry ingredients and dried fruit.Added the dry ingredients and dried fruit.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake until cooked through. Check the cooking with a toothpick. Leave to cool completely then dust with icing sugar before serving.

The cake in the pan before and after cooking.The cake in the pan before and after cooking.

Nut varieties and regional twists

The beauty of Italian walnut cake lies in its versatility. Depending on the region, different nuts are used to influence the flavor of the cake:

  • In Tuscanythe cake may contain nuts, known for their rich, slightly bitter taste, which complements the sweetness of the cake.
  • In Piedmontfamous for its hazelnuts, you may find a dense and rich hazelnut cake, often enriched with a hint of local chocolate or espresso.
  • Sicilian versions might include almonds, reflecting the island’s abundant almond groves and often paired with citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons.

How to prepare cake flour

For each cup of all-purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Make sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together a couple of times, this will make sure they are well mixed and without lumps. Cake flour in cakes will give you a very tender texture and fine crumb, it will also help the cake rise.

Walnut cake on a white cake plate.Walnut cake on a white cake plate.

Serving Tips

This cake is wonderfully versatile. Serve as is, dusted with icing sugar, with a dollop of whipped cream, mascarpone cream or a scoop of ice cream for a truly special treat. It pairs wonderfully with an espresso or a glass of Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine.

How to store cake

Store the cake in a cake container or tightly wrapped. It will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature as long as it is not frosted or frosted. If you store it in the refrigerator, wrap it well to prevent it from drying out. It will keep for up to 5-6 days in the refrigerator.

How to freeze cake

Make sure to cool the cake completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place it in a frost bag. The cake will keep for up to 2 months. When ready to defrost, place the wrapped cake in the refrigerator to thaw before serving.

Making this Italian Walnut Cake at home is one way to invite a piece of Italian tradition into your kitchen, offering a deliciously nutty slice of Italy’s rich culinary tapestry. Enjoy!

More delicious recipes with walnuts

A slice of cake on a white plate.A slice of cake on a white plate.
  • cup all-purpose flour or cake flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1⅓ cups whole walnuts
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • spoons butter (softened) if using unsalted butter add ¼ teaspoon salt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 great egg (room temperature)
  • 1 great egg yolk

Prevents the screen from going dark

  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and flour or spray or line a 7-inch/18cm round cake pan or springform pan with baking paper.

  • In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.

  • In a blender or food processor add the chopped walnuts and half the sugar, blend until finely chopped.

  • In a bowl or stand mixer, beat the remaining sugar and softened butter until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes, then add the vanilla, egg and egg yolk one at a time, add the dry ingredients and beat for 4 -5 minutes until you obtain a creamy mixture. combine, add the walnuts and mix.

  • Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through. Check the cooking with a toothpick, if the toothpick is dry or has some crumbs attached it is ready. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan then move to a wire rack to cool completely, dust with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

Store the cake in a cake container or tightly wrapped. It will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature as long as it is not frosted or frosted. If you store it in the refrigerator, wrap it well to prevent it from drying out. It will keep for up to 5-6 days in the refrigerator.
Make sure to cool the cake completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place it in a frost bag. The cake will keep for up to 2 months. Once ready to defrost, place the wrapped cake in the refrigerator to thaw before serving.

Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 24G | Protein: 5G | Fat: 24G | Saturated fats: 8G | Polyunsaturated fats: 10G | Monounsaturated fat: 5G | Trans fats: 0.4G | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2G | Sugar: 13G | Vitamin A: 385UI | C vitamin: 0.3mg | Soccer: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

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