Saturday, October 29, 2016


My mother told me there was a black walnut tree growing in the front yard of her childhood home in Waterford, Virginia. She made the most delicious black walnut pound cake and probably got the recipe from her mother, Annie Louise Middleton Markham.
Back in the early 1980s, my husband and I took a couple of friends to visit Waterford, Virginia. We walked up the hill to my mom's home and it was in shambles. Apparently someone bought the property, with over 70 acres of land, and was ready to renovate and restore the house. I walked through the house and opened every door on the second floor. She told me every room had a fireplace—and they sure did.
There was an old black walnut tree in the front yard and I picked up an empty shell lying on the ground and kept it. 
My husband fashioned it into an owl, and I still have that little black walnut 'owl'.
Black walnuts are difficult to find in the Pacific Northwest. I ordered them online and for extra flavor, I also ordered black walnut extract.

Butter a 4 by 8-inch loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 T honey
1 t black walnut extract
2 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder, preferably non-aluminum
1 t sea salt
1 ½ cups chopped black walnuts

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle, gently cream butter and sugar.
In a 2-cup measuring pitcher, add eggs, honey, and black walnut extract.
Whisk with a fork and then gradually pour into mixer while mixing on slow speed.

Sift flour with baking powder into a bowl then add the salt and slowly add to mixer.

Mix until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl once or twice in between.
With a rubber spatula, transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  
Using a table knife, run it around the sides of the pan to loosen and then turn out onto a plate.  

Let cool another hour or so before serving.