Foraging for nuts is part of my childhood. My little tree house used to be in a Chestnut Tree. Chestnuts were not my favorite. They lined the path to the pool and the spiny husks littered the way and I would inevitably stomp on one. The driveway was littered with hickory nuts. Somewhat friendlier nut in most cases. Except planting hickory nuts along a driveway is not the smartest move. Every fall my father would cringe every time he heard a crash upon the hood of his Jeep. The shells littered the driveway and my parents continually cleaned the driveway off. We have four hickory trees at our new house. One tree is a giant of a Hickory Tree. The size of the nut is double the size of the ones I grew up with.
A hickory nut tastes like a walnut but a bit sweeter. Also, I have no allergic tendencies with a hickory nut. I love walnuts but my body rejects them after a while. I can only eat them in small doses. We had a pretty big harvest of nuts so I decided to search for a recipe to utilize our harvest. You can substitute must recipes that call for walnuts for a Hickory Nut. I found Grandma’s Hickory Nut Cake on the tasteofhome.com site. I made a slight change with the vanilla.
I warned Bruce that gathering the nuts is fun to do but the actual husking of the hickory nut is a whole other ball of wax. To get 1 cup of nuts expect to spend 1 hour husking the shells with a hammer. So last night our roles were set… he hammered and I dug the meat out. Be very careful not to get the shell mixed in with your nuts or you’ll be spending some time in the dentist chair.
The cake mixture is pretty easy. You just want to take turns with your milk and flour. A little at a time of each. We just had our iPhone cameras last night. You don’t see the details of the nuts throughout the batter.
A nice harvest cake with not as many calories because you just spent an hour hammering all those nuts out!
The cake is a very moist cake and the brown sugar frosting is extra sweet. I thought about doubling the frosting so I had more in the middle but I’m glad I didn’t. It would have been a sweet coma.
We plan to start selling our hickory nuts online soon. So if you need a hickory nut source, we can help!
Hickory Nut Cake
- 2 cups Sugar
- 2/3 cup Butter
- 3 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 2-1/2 cup Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup Hickory Nuts Chopped – reserve a handful of halves for decoration
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Half and Half
- 2 cups Confectioners Sugar Sifted
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 325°. Grease either a 13 x 9 or two 8" cake pans.
- Cream sugar, vanilla and butter in a stand mixer. Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes.
- Add dry ingredients slowly and in between add milk while beating.
- Stir in Nuts.
- Pour into greased pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Melt butter in medium saucepan.
- Add brown sugar and bring to a boil for two minutes.
- Add milk and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool beat in sugar and vanilla.