a maple pumpkin cake topped with walnuts
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4.89 from 17 votes

Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

This Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is my way of welcoming in the best season of the year...it's 3 layers of fluffy maple cake with an irresistible maple buttercream.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings




  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp maple extract or vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups or 409 grams, cake flour (you can use regular flour)
  • 3/4 cup half and half substitute whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1 cup crushed or finely chopped walnuts


  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp maple extract or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt omit if using salted butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4-5 cups confectioner's sugar sifted


  • 18 walnut halves
  • 1 cup finely crushed walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350F Lightly grease 3 8-inch cake pans and add a round of parchment at the bottom of each. Note: if you only have 2 pans, bake the third layer after the first 2 have cooked.
  • Cream the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, it helps make a light cake.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then beat in the maple syrup and extract.
  • Turn the mixer to low speed and blend in the baking powder and salt. Then add the flour and half and half, alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just to combine, don't over-mix. Fold in the crushed walnuts.
  • Fill your cake pans evenly with batter and smooth out the tops, if necessary. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the center is risen and springs back when lightly touched, and the cakes have just started to pull away ever so slightly from the sides of the pan. Let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out and cooling completely on a rack.
  • To make the frosting, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth, making sure there are no lumps. Beat in the maple syrup, extract, and salt.
  • Add sugar, in batches, until you get your desired consistency.
  • Generously frost the cooled cake and pat crushed walnuts along the outer edge. Arrange walnut halves on the top.


If you only have 9-inch cake pans, I think it would be best to make this a 2 layer cake.  The baking time will be slightly longer, so keep that in mind.