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This chocolate walnut cake features a moist chocolate cake with whipped ganache and crushed walnuts! It’s a light yet decadent cake that’s easy to make and perfect for birthdays, parties, holidays, and celebrations.
This easy chocolate walnut cake recipe is to die for! The chocolate cake on its own is perfectly moist with an intense chocolate flavor. I could eat it plain with no frosting, but the magic happens when you spread on the silky smooth ganache! It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.
Since I’m a big fan of SIMPLE recipes, this chocolate and walnut cake is a breeze to whip up. Just mix the wet ingredients with the dry, stir, and bake! It’s a snack style cake, so you don’t have to slice, layer, or fuss over it. I just remove it from the pan, then spread a layer of ganache frosting over top.
I love to make it for birthday parties and celebrations, because everyone loves it! The kids (and adults) devour it quickly and I rarely have leftovers. If someone has a nut allergy, you can easily leave out the walnuts. It’s just a divine cake, plain and simple.
👩🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Rich chocolate cake base
- Perfect for chocolate cravings!
- Rich whipped chocolate ganache topping
- Divine Italian chocolate walnut cake
- Single layer cake & easy to make
- Perfect for parties and get-togethers
- Nice nutty flavor
- Best nut cake recipe ever!
Latest Recipe Video!
This choco walnut cake calls for simple ingredients found at your local grocery store. Here’s what you need:
- Almond Milk: I prefer to use almond milk because it’s what I have on hand. You can use any kind of milk you commonly use, plant-based or dairy.
- Lemon Juice: The lemon juice reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide bubbles. This creates a light and tender crumb.
- Coconut Sugar: To sweeten this choco nutty cake!
- Salt: A small amount of salt enhances sweetness.
- Baking Powder & Soda: Leavening agents are crucial for cake recipes. They cause the batter to rise in the oven. If you haven’t used your baking powder in ages, test it to make sure it’s still active. Drop a teaspoon in hot water to see if it bubbles. If not, throw it out and buy a new one.
- Cocoa Powder: For that rich, chocolatey taste!
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour creates a soft but sturdy nut chocolate cake. If you’re gluten-free, swap with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that contains xanthan gum.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla doesn’t compete with the chocolate, it accentuates it!
- Eggs: For structure and richness. Always use large eggs for baking, unless otherwise noted.
- Chopped Walnuts: For a nutty crunch. Walnuts and chocolate are a delicious combo, but you could also use pecans if you like. If you only have whole walnuts, you can pulse them for a few seconds in your food processor to chop them up. Make sure not to use ground walnuts for this moist nut cake recipe, as you’ll lose all the great texture of this nut!
- Instant Coffee: If you’re not a coffee fan, don’t worry! Espresso powder isn’t for a coffee taste, but to draw out the rich flavor of the chocolate. Hot water rehydrates it before you mix it in.
- Dark Chocolate: You can use a chopped chocolate bar or chocolate chips. I recommend using high-quality chocolate for this recipe for chocolate walnut cake. Off-brand chocolate chips don’t melt or whip as well!
- Heavy Cream: For a silky smooth, creamy ganache!
This walnut chocolate cake is easy to customize! Try one of these delicious variations:
- Gluten-Free: Swap the all-purpose flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. It has a gluten-like taste and texture to it.
- Vegan: Swap the eggs with flax eggs. Use vegan chocolate and coconut cream to make the ganache.
- Pecans: Swap the walnuts with chopped pecans!
- Eggless Chocolate Walnut Cake: Swap the eggs with two flax eggs.
- Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake: Stir 1 cup of chocolate chips into the cake batter before baking.
My walnut dark chocolate cake is easy to make. Here’s step-by-step instructions with photos to guide you through it.
Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 by 8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk the almond milk and lemon juice together in a medium bowl, then set it aside.
Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the coconut sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and flour until well combined.
Combine Wet Ingredients: Add the vanilla and eggs to the almond milk mixture and whisk.
Mix Wet & Dry: Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture along with 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and mix until combined.
Add Coffee Mixture: In a separate bowl, mix the boiling water and instant coffee. Stir the hot coffee mixture into the cake batter.
Bake Chocolate Cake With Nuts: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the cake tin before transferring to a wire rack.
Chop Chocolate: While the cake is baking, finely chop the chocolate and place it into a heat-proof bowl.
Add Hot Cream: Heat the cream in the microwave until steaming. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. You can also use the double boiler method to make the ganache, but I find this way to be easier, quicker and turns out just as well!
Chill the ganache for at least 30 minutes or until it firms up.
Whip Ganache: Use a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer to whip the chocolate mixture until light and fluffy.
Cool, Frost, Enjoy: Make sure the walnuts chocolate cake has cooled completely. Then spread the ganache on top of the cake and top with walnuts.
❓ Recipe FAQs
It’s important not to overmix cake batter. When you overmix it, you work the gluten too much, which ultimately deflates the cake and makes it denser. Mix the ingredients together until just incorporated, and no further.
I prefer dark chocolate for its deep, intense chocolatey flavor. You can use milk or semi-sweet chocolate too. For a sweeter and less intense ganache, use milk chocolate. For a slightly sweeter ganache, use semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate.
Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It’s best to let it come to room temperature before you dig in! Cold cake won’t be as soft or flavorful.
Yes! This chocolate nut cake recipe freezes well. I like to freeze it in slices, so I don’t have to defrost the whole cake to have a slice. To do this, place the slices on a half sheet pan, then place the sheet pan in the freezer. Once the cake slices are frozen, transfer them to a zip top bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before enjoying.
💭 Expert Tips
- Don’t boil the cream when you heat it. If you do, you will have a mess in your microwave! Once it steams, remove it from the microwave.
- Be sure to chop the chocolate into small pieces to ensure it melts completely. I let the cream sit over the chocolate for 15 seconds to melt it before I stir.
- To completely melt the chocolate – If the chocolate doesn’t melt fully, you can heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir.
- Check for “done-ness” – Always check to make sure the cake is cooked through by inserting a skewer or cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is cooked.
- For a lower sugar option – Use 70% or higher dark chocolate to reduce the sugar content.
- Let the walnut fudge cake cool completely before frosting it! Otherwise the chocolate ganache will melt all over the place.
🍰 More Crave-Worthy Cake Recipes!
- Chocolate Mango Cake
- Chocolate Orange Cake
- Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Avocado Frosting
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📋 Recipe Card
Chocolate Walnut Cake
For The Cake
For The Ganache
- 12 ounces dark chocolate
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C. Line a 8×8 square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together the almond milk and lemon juice, set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the coconut sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, cocoa powder and flour until well combined.
- Add the vanilla extract and eggs to the almond milk mixture and whisk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with ½ cup chopped walnuts and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl mix the boiling water and instant coffee.
- Stir the coffee mixture into the cake batter and mix until incorporated.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a cooling rack.
- Prepare the chocolate ganache: Finely chop the dark chocolate and place into a heat proof bowl.
- Place the cream into the microwave and heat until steaming.
- Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.
- Place the firm ganache into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until fluffy.
- Spread the ganache on top of the cold cake and finish with crushed walnuts.
- Substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten free flour to make this recipe gluten free.
- Do not boil the cream when heating, just heat it until it begins to steam.
- Be sure to chop the chocolate into fine pieces to ensure it melts completely. If the chocolate doesn’t melt you can heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir to melt fully.
- Always check to make sure the cake is cooked through by inserting a skewer into the center, when it comes out clean it is cooked.
- Use 70% or higher dark chocolate to reduce the sugar content.
- Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To make vegan friendly: Substitute the eggs with flax eggs, use vegan chocolate and coconut cream to make the ganache.