The holidays are upon us and we are all ready basking in the holiday vibes that we love so much. Today I’m super excited to share this Black Walnut Cake recipe with you AND this holiday dessert table with Crate and Barrel! This cake is buttery and nutty and super fluffy. The gingerbread cookies that go around on the outside are added for a bit of cuteness. And this holiday dessert table makes me all excited for this time of year.
I teamed up with Crate and Barrel to show off this fun holiday dessert table—my go-to for holiday décor! This table is the perfect thing to assemble for any holiday or seasonally festive parties you might be throwing.
My Holiday Dessert Table:
I wanted the table to be both super pretty but approachable. Most of these things I made a week or so before, froze them and then baked them up the day of. This made for a super easy, breezy experience. Here’s what I figured I’d set out for guests:
- Honey Scones with Earl Grey Glaze
- Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies (recipe coming soon!)
- Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Hot Chocolate
- Black Walnut Cake
- Now for the decor! Everything is Crate and Barrel and while, yes, a lot of it has holiday vibes, there are some things I used that I could use year-round.
The Holiday Decor
The Cypress Wreath looks SO real, as does the Cypress Garland. Every year I buy a real garland and wreath it makes the biggest mess in the house as it dries out. NEVER AGAIN! I’m so happy to have these in my holiday collection that I can use year after year!
Some other goodies that I love and used in this post: this Wooden Marble Two-Tier Server where I put the cookies and scones.
This set of Wusthof Knives in this gorgeous black block. These knives are super sharp and sturdy. Their perfect for daily use! And of course, these kitchen scissors are my favorite tool for pies and more!
And this beautiful Petrified Black Wooden serving board where I placed some oatmeal lace cookies and hot chocolate. The Nordic Tree Mugs are super beautiful and minimal.
I placed the green alpine knotted table runner over the tablecloth to add a nice lil’ layered look. (P.S. I used this at Thanksgiving, too.) It really can be used on lots of other dinners and occasions, which I love!
The Marin White Cake Stand is so elegant and simple; it allowed my black walnut cake really pop and shine! The cookies I made to go around the cake were these chai gingerbread cookies that I cut out using the Winter Cookies Cutters. I decorated them in a jiffy (don’t look too close lol) with some royal icing and stuck them to the sides of the cake with some frosting. If you’re not the greatest at decorating a cake, this couldn’t be simpler!
Let’s talk about this Brown Butter Black Walnut Cake!
This cake starts with brown butter being made and then walnuts being added. The walnuts get extra toasty and fragrant this way. They’re added to the oil and sugar mixture. This allows for the brown butter to emulsify with the sugar. This really gives the cake an awesome texture.
This cake is pretty big—it definitely serves a crowd! I bake them in three 9-inch USA Pro Pan Line Non-Stick Cake Pans. I then decorated it in a super simple fashion with some vanilla buttercream.
Of course, if you wanted to make this cake for a smaller number of people, you could always halve it and make it in two 9-inch cake pans (or a 9×13 sheet cake pan). It’ll be a smaller cake but still cute and delicious none the less!
This is the low-down on my holiday dessert table with Crate & Barrel; if you have any questions or make the recipe, let me know in the comments below or on Instagram!
Brown Butter Walnuts:
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup neutral oil, (vegetable, grape seed or avocado oil)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, (or 2 teaspoons vanilla paste)
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Chai Gingerbread Cookies, for decoration
To Make the Brown Butter Mixture:
- To a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the butter. Once it’s melted, it will begin to foam up and bubble a bit. Allow it to cook until you begin to see very lightly browned specks beginning to form. Add the walnuts; toss the walnuts until they’re evenly coated. Give it a stir and cook until it’s browned, about an additional 1 minute. Allow to stand until mostly room temperature.
To Make the Cake Batter:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and set aside. I also like to line my cake pans with a sheet of parchment because I don’t like anything to stick!
- In the a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or a large bowl using a stand-up mixer), whisk together oil and sugar, until combined about 1 minute. Then, add the reserved walnuts/brown butter mixture and beat for an additional minute. Add the eggs, along with the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining milk; mix until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the batter amongst the three pans (I only had two, so feel free to bake them in batches). If you want layers the same size, feel free to weight out the batter. Each layer will weigh about 345 grams. Smooth out the top using an offset spatula or butter knife. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then invert it onto a cooling rack. Fill up the last cake pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
To Make the Frosting:
- To a bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (OR a medium bowl using an electric mixer), add the butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 30 seconds.
- Sift in the powdered sugar. Cover the machine with a clean kitchen towel (this will avoid a mess) and turn it on low-speed. Increase the speed after about 30 seconds. Lastly, add the heavy cream and beat the frosting for about 2 minutes. The fluffiness from the heavy cream really lightens up this frosting so be sure to beat it for the full 2 minutes.
- To Assemble the Cake:
- Pour all of the frosting on the cooled sheet cake and spread it around, creating cute swoops as you go. Top it with whatever you like! I added lil’ cookies. Cake will stay moist for about 3 days when wrapped properly.
(Thank you to Crate and Barrel for sponsoring this post. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)