Black Walnut Lemon Bread

For Mother’s Day in 1985, my son and daughter-in-law in St. Louis sent me a cookbook that I loved.  It was called Elsah Landing Heartland Cooking and was just full of good recipes like this one that I adapted for Black Walnut Lemon Bread.

My version won a 2nd place ribbon at the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair that year.  I’m the only one in the family who likes black walnuts, so I chose this week while my daughters are on vacation to make myself a batch.  I like to bake quick bread in mini loaf pans (about 3×5″ measured across the top).  I started making bread in small loaves to take to work for coffee break or lunch.  This size pan makes two reasonable servings or one very generous serving.  Using 6 pans results in a bread about 2″ thick, 4 pans would make a thicker bread and, of course, the bread could be made in a standard 9″ bread pan.


  • Servings: 9-inch loaf
  • Print

The Bread:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped black walnuts

The Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tblsp. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease/flour 4 or 6 mini loaf pans (3″x5″) or one 9″ bread pan

To make the bread:

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter.  Add sugar gradually, mixing well.  Add the egg and lemon peel, beating to blend.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture – beating well after each addition.  Stir in black walnuts.

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake @ 350 degrees approximately 20-25 minutes for the 6 small pans, 30-35 minutes for the 4 small pans or 45 minutes for the large loaf.  Loaves will be a pale golden brown and will test done when a tester is inserted near the center of the loaves.

While bread is still in the pan(s), brush with the warm syrup.  It looks like too much syrup, but keep going back and brushing – the bread absorbs the liquid – use all of the syrup.

Keep in the pans on a wire rack until bread has cooled, although I have been known to steal a loaf while it’s still warm and, wow, is that good!

Remove loaves to rack.  Serve immediately or wrap and keep at room temperature for a couple of days.  Loaves can also be well wrapped and frozen.  When eating a cooled loaf, I like to warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to activate all that lovely lemon syrup flavor.

Since nobody else likes the black walnuts, I guess I can just eat all I want and not worry about saving any for the vacationers.

Published by


Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

2 thoughts on “Black Walnut Lemon Bread”

  1. Lillian the bread looks so good. I don’t eat black walnuts but I suppose English ones would be alright too? I make a Lemon Nut Bread that has a glaze on it and it’s my husband’s favorite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s