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Walnut Cake – Greek Inspired Recipe (GF Option)

This walnut cake recipe features ground walnuts and a touch of flour combined with a creamy egg mixture, yielding a moist and fluffy texture similar to a walnut sponge cake. Easily made in a sheet pan this walnut coffee cake can be enjoyed as it is, if you want a quick dessert, or layered with frosting for more festive holidays. It’s also naturally dairy free!

Soft moist walnut cake - walnut sponge cake baked in a sheet pan.
Soft moist walnut cake, cut into squares.

Walnut Cake Recipe

There are many types of walnut cakes, most of them are presented as layered cakes, but this cake with walnuts is simple and customizable. Because it’s baked in a sheet pan, you can call it walnut coffee cake or walnut sheet cake.

The ingredients come together in a few minutes, especially when you already have some ground walnuts. This recipe is similar to a Greek walnut cake called “karidopita”, except this one is not syrup-soaked and I also omitted the spices. Is a much simplified cake version with walnuts.

Walnut coffee cake similar to karidopita cut into squares, stacked on a plate.
Walnut coffee cake similar to karidopita (the Greek version).

First I tried this cake with walnuts while visiting a dear friend, she gladly shared the recipe and I made it multiple times since then. This “Greek” walnut cake is similar to a sponge cake, therefore by swapping the flour you can easily make a gluten free walnut cake without too much effort.

Just like my gluten free coffee cake with cinnamon streusel, this walnut cake can be enjoyed either warm or cold in your lunch box, as dessert.

Leftover walnut cake, makes a good brunch, by the way.

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Walnut Cake Ingredients

  • Walnuts – fresh walnuts ground into flour.
  • Eggs – are needed for binding everything together and to provide the sponge like texture without using too much flour.
  • Flour – use any you like. I used my gluten free flour mix and it works well. As grain free flours you can use cassava or arrowroot.
  • Sugar – any granulated sugar will work. As a healthier version I used maple sugar.
  • Oil – as butter replacement, which provides moisture and flexibility.
  • Honey – is used in very small proportions, but it gives the walnut cake some extra flavor and sweetness.
  • Baking soda – for enhancing the “sponge” effect. I also tried replacing the baking soda with baking powder, and I got the same result.
  • Salt – for taste enhancement.

Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make A Walnut Coffee Cake

First prepare a 9×13-inch pan or a 9-inch square pan. Grease the bottom with oil. Preheat oven to 300F (150C).

Step 1. Prepare the dry ingredients:

  • Grind the walnuts in a food processor using the pulse motion to get a flour like consistency. Do not overdo it as you can end up with walnut butter instead of flour. 
  • Transfer the walnut flour into a bowl and to that add the flour, salt and baking soda, stir with a whisk or a fork to combine. Set aside.
Process shots showing how to mix dry ingredients  when making a cake with walnuts.

Step 2. Prepare the wet ingredients:

  • In another large bowl, crack the eggs (room temperature) and add the maple sugar.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the oil and honey and give another final mix to combine.
Process shots showing how to mix the eggs with sugar and then wet ingredients for a Greek walnut cake.

Step 3. Combine wet with dry ingredients:

  • Pour the walnut mixture over egg mixture.
  • Proceed with half, mix gently to combine with a spatula, then pour the other half, and continue mixing gently until everything looks homogeneous.
Process shots showing how to mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients for a walnut cake.

Step 4. Bake the walnut cake:

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. You can use a 9×13 inch pan or 9-inch square cake pan (if you prefer the walnut cake taller) or a springform.
  • Sprinkle anything you like on top, more crushed nuts or seeds would work.
  • Make sure you distribute the batter evenly and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  • Test the cake with a tooth pick. When it comes out clean you know it’s done.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let walnut cake cool on a rack.
Baked walnut cake cut into squares ready showing the moist fluffy texture in a close up shot.
The texture of this walnut cake is airy and moist.

Step 5. Serve:

  • When completely cool, unmold the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges to release it from the pan.
  • Now you can sprinkle with some powdered sugar if you like.
  • Cut into squares, rectangles. Use a flat metal spatula to detach from the bottom.
This walnut cake was made with gluten free flour, this is how it looks.
This walnut cake was also made with gluten free flour, this is how it looks.

FAQs For Making Cake With Walnuts

How do you stop walnuts sinking in a cake?

Make sure that the flour lightly coats the ground nuts (they are heavier). It helps suspend the nuts in the batter so they don’t sink to the bottom. That’s why is important to mix all dry ingredients separate and add them at the right before baking.

What makes the walnut cake fluffy?

Whisking the eggs and sugar together is one essential tip to make the cake spongy and fluffy. The mixture becomes pale yellow and fluffy because of incorporation of air.

Do I need to toast the walnuts before baking?

The use of toasted nuts will add depth of the texture and flavor, but it’s nor really necessary.

Recipe Variations, Substitutions:

  • Make a cinnamon flavored walnut cake – add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional) to the batter.
  • Coffee and walnut cake – add 2 tsp of instant coffee or espresso powder to the batter. I have a similar walnut coffee sponge cake with cinnamon, walnut and coffee flavor all combined!
  • Chocolate walnut cake – replace half of the regular flour (2 tablespoons) you’re adding to the batter with 2 tablespoons of cacao powder (2 tbsp cacao powder + 2 tbsp flour), it also taste good when coffee is added to this, it enhances the chocolate flavor. You could also melt some chocolate and drizzle on top of the cake.
  • Banana walnut cake – replaced 3 of the eggs with 2 large mashed bananas (or 3 smaller). I have another version of banana cake with frosting that you could also try, or a banana swiss roll cake with carob frosting. They are both gluten and dairy free by the way.
  • Apple walnut cake – add one medium grated apple to the batter, similar to my Holiday Bundt Cake.
  • Carrot walnut cake – add 2 medium grated carrots to the batter.
  • Add dried fruits – chopped dates, raisins, cranberry. Soak them in warm water first.
Close up shot of walnut sheet cake, walnut coffee cake cut and stacked.
Soft spongy cake with walnuts.

Walnut Cake Storing Tips

  • Storing leftovers: Once baked the walnut cake can be kept wrapped, 3 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge. I think it’s tastes best the second and third day.
  • Freezing: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I think it is best to cut the cake first and separate the slices with parchment paper before freezing. So you could enjoy individual slices whenever you want.
  • Thawing: The best way to defrost this walnut coffee cake is to let it slowly thaw in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Then, let it come to room temperature by taking it out of your fridge.
  • Reheating: You can reheat the cake right out from the freezer, reheat it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at medium temperature. Or reheat it from the fridge, cover with a foil and let it reheat for 10-25 minutes in the oven.

More Healthy Cakes To Try

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Your feedback is really helpful for me and readers!

Walnut Cake – Greek Inspired Recipe + Gluten Free Option

This walnut cake recipe yields a moistand fluffy texture similar to a walnut sponge cake. Easily made in a sheet panthis walnut coffee cake can be enjoyed as it is or layered with frosting forfestive holidays. It’s simple, easy and similar to a Greek walnut cake called “karidopita”and can easily be transform into a gluten free walnut cake. And it's naturally dairy free!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Clean Eating, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Greek
Servings: 15 squares
Calories: 171.73kcal
Author: HealthyTasteOfLife
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Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups ground walnuts - or walnut flour
  • 1/3 cup flour - use all-purpose or gluten free flour mix
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda - or 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt
  • 6 medium eggs - room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar - or your favorite granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil - neutral oil (avocado or grape-seed)
  • 2 tbsp honey

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a 9×13-inch pan or a 9-inch square pan. Grease the bottom with oil.
    Preheat oven to 300F (150C).

Prepare dry ingredients:

  • Grind the walnuts in a food processor using the pulse motion to get a flour like consistency. Do not overdo it as you can end up with walnut butter instead of flour. 
  • Transfer the walnut flour into a bowl and to that add the flour, salt and baking soda, stir with a whisk to mix everything. Set aside.

Prepare the wet ingredients:

  • In another large bowl, crack the eggs (room temperature) and add the maple sugar.
  • Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until light and thickened, about 5 minutes.
    Add the oil and honey and give another final mix to combine.

Combine wet with dry ingredients:

  • Pour the walnut mixture over egg mixture.
  • Proceed with half, mix gently to combine with a spatula, then pour the other half, and continue mixing gently until everything looks homogeneous.

Bake the walnut cake

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack.
  • When completely cool, unmold the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges to release it from the pan.
  • Cut into squares. Use a flat metal spatula to detach from the bottom.
    Serve.

Notes

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure that the flour lightly coats the ground nuts (they are heavier). It helps suspend the nuts in the batter so they don’t sink to the bottom. That’s why is important to mix all dry ingredients separate and add them at the right before baking.
  • Make a cinnamon flavored walnut cake – add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional) to the batter.
  • Coffee and walnut cake – add 2 tsp of instant coffee or espresso powder to the batter.
  • Chocolate walnut cake – as flour mix use 2 tbsp cacao powder + 2 tbsp flour. You could also melt some chocolate and drizzle on top of the walnut cake.
  • Banana walnut cake – replaced 3 of the eggs with 2 large mashed bananas (or 3 smaller). 
  • Apple walnut cake – add one medium grated apple to the batter.
  • Carrot walnut cake – add 2 medium grated carrots to the batter.
  • Add dried fruits – chopped dates, raisins, cranberry. Soak them in warm water first.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyTasteOfLife or tag #healthytasteoflife!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cake square | Calories: 171.73kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.7g | Protein: 4.14g | Fat: 10.52g | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 13.32g | Vitamin A: 97.2IU | Calcium: 30.06mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

This walnut cake recipe yields a moist and fluffy texture similar to a walnut sponge cake. Easily made in a sheet pan this walnut coffee cake can be enjoyed as it is or layered with frosting for festive holidays. It’s simple, easy and similar to a Greek walnut cake called “karidopita” and can easily be transform into a gluten free walnut cake. #walnutcake #walnutcoffeecake #glutenfreewalnutcake #easywalnutcake #sheetcake

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