Old-fashioned Maple Nut Cake


Slice of Maple Nut Cake on PlateOld-fashioned nut cakes bring back warm memories of family gatherings many years ago. There always seemed to be at least one nut cake – and often more – at family reunions. They were made by great aunts or other miscellaneous relatives. (I often was unsure of the relationship.) So when I saw a recipe for Maple Nut Cake in a hundred-year-old promotional cookbook published by the Royal Baking Powder Company, I decided to give it a try.

The cake is made in a loaf pan. The old recipe recommended using chopped pecans in the cake, so I went with that nut. The cake is iced with Maple Icing. It turned out wonderfully, and tasted just like those old-time cakes of memory.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Maple Nut Cake
Source: New Royal Cook Book (1920), published by the Royal Baking Powder Company

And, here are the original Maple Icing recipes. (The cookbook contained two icing options.):

Two Recipes for Maple Icing
Source: New Royal Cooking Book (1920) by Royal Baking Powder Company

I interpreted a “moderate oven” to be 350° F. However, the cake was not even close to being fully baked after 45 minutes, so I continued baking until a pick inserted in the center came out clean, which was about 1 hour and 10 minutes after I put the cake in the oven.

I made the first Maple Icing recipe. I softened the butter, and did not bother to heat the milk.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Maple Nut Cake

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Maple Nut Cake

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts – preferably pecans

additional chopped nuts for top of cake

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites stiff peaks form.

In a separate mixing bowl put the flour, shortening, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla,  baking powder, and salt;  beat until combined. Then stir in the nuts, and gently fold the whipped egg whites into the mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost top with Maple Icing. (If desired, the cake can be removed from the pan. A slightly thinner icing can be made, and the icing can then be drizzled over the cake and allowed to run down the sides.).  While the icing is still soft, sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Maple Icing

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

approximately 2 tablespoons milk

Put confectioners’ sugar, butter, and maple flavoring in a bowl. Add milk and beat until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add additional milk.



51 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Maple Nut Cake

    1. The Maple Nut Cake is delish. It’s wonderful to hear that you liked the photo. I am still learning how to take really nice food photos – and sometimes they turn out better than other times. 🙂

    1. This the the perfect recipe for you. Similarly to you, I often have an extract, spice, or sauce that I use a little of in a recipe – and then it just sits in my cupboard unless I find other recipes that call for it.

    1. Maple flavoring is good in baked goods. I have several cookie and cake recipes that call for using maple flavoring, and have been pleased with how they’ve all turned out.

  1. That looks so good. I love loaf pan cakes. Easy slices to make. But alas, we (hubby and I) are on diets and even though one slice wont hurt I am afraid that I would not be able to contain myself with just one slice. lol

    1. I also like how easy loaf pan cakes are to make – and they are a more reasonable size for my husband and me than larger cake recipes. That said, I have a similar problem to you when it comes to eating just one slice. 🙂

  2. Now I’m almost tempted to head to Walgreens and buy a bag of the memories you raised: Brach’s maple nut goodies. Maple and nuts is a great combo, and I’ll bet this cake is scrumptious.

    1. I had a similar thought when I first saw this recipe. I think that hickory nuts would work well in this recipe. An aside – A couple years ago I gathered some wild hickory nuts. And, I was shocked to discover how difficult it was to crack and get the nut meats out of them. When our ancestors made a Hickory Nut Cake, they put a lot of time and love into it.

    1. When I first read the recipe, I thought about using walnuts, but then noticed that the recipe author recommended pecans. I wonder if walnuts would traditionally be used in this recipe in some regions of the country, while pecans would be used in other regions.

  3. My mum used to make one just like this but she used coffee instead of maple and walnuts..Coffee and walnut has always been a favourite flavour of mine bit the maple would make a lovely change 🙂

  4. I love cakes with nuts in them..family doesn’t think so though 😢 sometimes though I put some in a corner of the cake batter than tell the rest that’s my piece.😁 it usually is left alone.

    1. I like how you put nuts in one small section of cakes. My children didn’t care much for nuts, and I seldom made cookies or cakes with nuts when they were young. Now that it’s just my husband and me – I frequently make foods with nuts since we both love them.

    1. The second icing sounds very different from most modern icings (though it may be very tasty) – but somehow I wasn’t adventurous enough to try it. 🙂

  5. There is something so special about “old-fashioned” recipes, they just seem so much more credible and delicious 🙂 thank you so much for sharing!

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