Toasted walnut cake with hints of cinnamon, topped with a brown sugar buttercream and chopped walnuts.


For the Cake:
  1. 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  3. ¾ teaspoon salt
  4. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ¾ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  6. 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  7. 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  8. 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  10. 1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted)

For the Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. 5 large egg whites
  2. 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
  3. 2 cups unsalted butter, cubed (room temperature)
  4. Pinch salt

For the Assembly:
  1. 1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted) (optional)

Make the Cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour two 8″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
  • Remove 1 tablespoon of flour and toss with walnuts in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk remaining flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  • Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
  • Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Stop mixing when you can still see a bit of flour unincorporated.
  • Fold in chopped walnuts.
  • Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  • Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
  • Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer*, whisk until combined.
  • Place bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double-boiler. Whisking constantly, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl onto the stand mixer.
  • Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch and the meringue is fluffy, glossy and holds a stiff peak.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly add cubed butter and mix until incorporated.
  • Add salt and whip on medium-high until silky and smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.**