Mrs. Melton’s Black Walnut Cake

Thanks, Mary Lou and Mrs. Melton

This recipe is another contribution from Mary Lou Hitt, Genlue Park, Browntown, Virginia. Her handwritten recipe is torn, and missing a little of her instructions, but sounds marvelous, nonetheless! 

Mrs. Melton’s Black Walnut Cake

1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter (never substitute w/the margarine!)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk
5 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add 6 eggs, beating in one at a time

1 package seedless raisins
1 quart (approx 1 pound) black walnuts (not English)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Now here is what Mary Lou wrote, in her words (part of text is missing):

“….recipe said – bake at 275 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. It actually took 2 hours and 45 minutes in a well-regulated gas oven for this cake to test done.
I could not find “seedless” raisins, so used “Sun Maid” and those packages are now only 15 ounces, so add another ounce.
All flour is now sifted so don’t bother with that nuisance.
This was baked in a tube pan, but any cake pan should do as well and I would suggest cutting the recipe in half as this thing is too heavy to lift without adequate staff.”

While the instructions are limited, I remember everything Mary Lou baked as being superb. She had an aversion to salted butter and loved exotic recipes. She was the first person I ever knew to have cooked Mexican fare, having lived in San Antonio, Texas in her youth.

I think this cake is rather simple – cream butter and sugar, add milk, eggs, then slowly add in dry ingredients. Bake. Allow to cool on rack.

And I double-checked. She really did say that it took 2 hours and 45 minutes for this cake to be done. ( No typo.) I’d still check it from time to time with a broomstraw or toothpick – better safe than sorry.

I’m looking forward to trying this, too. Her handwritten “receipt” was just discovered this week , folded in my grandmother’s cookbook from the 1950’s.

In the South, black walnut cake is such a Christmas tradition. Great dessert to make for the holidays! I’d top it with homemade whipped cream, Rum Raisin ice cream, or hard sauce. Anyway you slice it (or top it) – delicious! 

…”too heavy to lift without adequate staff.”  🙂 !!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Betsy Rohaly Smoot
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 20:55:42

    I would very much like to get in touch with you to talk about Mary Lou Hitt – I’m a historian writing about her parents. If possible, please contact me on Facebook.
    Thank you!


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