Walnut crunch cake donuts
Baking,  Donuts

Walnut Crunch

I don’t recall where I found this recipe but I know one thing for sure, it makes a near identical recipe to the walnut crunch cake donuts that were commercially available here in Canada. No one knows for sure why its no longer made commercially. Luckily, we have a recipe that will allow people to make them at home.

[Footnote: I will add more pictures and a youtube video in the next week or so.]

I will start with the recipe, then I’ll talk about how to make them. I use the cups and tablespoons for measuring, so the grams calculations is estimated.

WoodchuckCanuck Walnut Crunch

Part A:

30 g (2 T) butter

45 g (1/2 cup) walnuts, chopped

Part B:

2 Whole eggs (large)

150g (3/4 cup) white sugar

Part C:

1/4 cup buttermilk (or sub with 3/4 tsp lemon juice and top up with milk, set aside for 15 min before using)

1 tsp Vanilla flavouring

Part D:

180 g (1-1/2 cup) all purpose flour

42g (6 T) cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 tsp dry instant coffee grounds, crushed (simply crush in palm of your hand with finger)

Sift these ingredients together.

Part E:


3-1/2 cups icing sugar

1/4 cup boiling water (more will be needed to adjust)

2 tsp corn syrup

pinch of salt


Step 1: Combine Part A. Melt the butter on the stove in a small pan, cook with walnuts until brown. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Combine Part B. Whip eggs and sugar until pale and thickened. Should take 2-3 minutes. I used a whip on the 5qt KitchenAid mixer.

Step 3: Add Part C. Add buttermilk and flavouring to the eggs and sugar mixture. Stir to combine well.

Step 4: Change out the whip on the mixer for the paddle. Add Part D to the mixed ingredients and also add Part A. Mix to a semi stiff dough for about 20 seconds on medium speed.

Step 5: If the dough appears a bit soft on the bottom, use a plastic scraper to fold in the dough while still in the bowl. Then turn out onto a flour surface on the counter top. Knead about 6 times using a little more flour if necessary. Remember that the more flour you use, the more dry the donut will become.

Step 6: Set the kneaded dough on a plate in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It will be soft and slightly sticky.

walnut crunch recipe
Walnut Crunch recipe – Use parchment paper if you want, as shown.

Update: In subsequent batches I abandoned the parchment paper method and simply put it on a dinner plate and spread it out into a rectangle type shape as shown below.

walnut crunch recipe
Walnut Crunch recipe – This photo is actually when I made it the very first time.

Step 7: While dough is setting in the fridge, make the glaze. Using a 5qt mixer with paddle, insert the icing sugar. Blend the hot water, corn syrup and salt together then add to the icing sugar. Stir slowly. Add more hot water to suit the thickness of glaze you want. When making glaze, less is better when adding extra water. So once you have the walnut crunch ready to dip in glaze, do a test and if the glaze is too thick, blend in a wee bit more hot water.

Step 8: Prepare the dough. Either cut them evenly and pre-shape individually, or roll out to a rectangular shape on a floured surface countertop to approximately 12×8 inches. I generally like the individual pieces to be 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. I usually like to make 12 from the batch, sometimes I’ll roll the dough a little longer to make them each about 5 inches long.

Either way, the rectangle is 10-12 inches wide and then roll it out long enough to get the quantity desired. Cut out the shapes. Pick up each one and brush off the excess flour, I use a natural bristle BBQ brush. Then set the pieces aside to sit while you prep the fryer. This sitting time will allow the baking power to work some.

Walnut Crunch donut recipe
Walnut Crunch donut recipe – individual shapes
Home made walnut crunch.
Walnut Crunch home made recipe – rolled out.

Step 9: Now plug in your fryer to bring it up to temperature. Our fryer maxes out at 374ºF on the dial. The true temp is likely 350º to 360º. It’s close enough. Usually takes about 15 minutes to warm up. The oil I use is generally canola oil, sometimes its vegetable oil. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. You will want some means to flip the donuts, I use two forks. And you will want some means to extract the donuts from the hot oil, I use the basket that comes with the fryer. The picture shows 4 in the fryer but it’s better to cook 3 at a time.

Fry for 1 min 15 seconds per side. You may have to adjust that frying time depending on your method. It definitely should not take any longer than 1 min 30 seconds per side.

Lemon Crunch home made recipes
Lemon Crunch – different recipe but similar scenario.

Step 10: As soon as those 3 or 4 donuts come out of the fryer, dip them in glaze and set them on a rack for cooling.

Home made walnut crunch.
Home made walnut crunch.
Walnut crunch
Walnut crunch

Enjoy! We welcome your comments and feedback below. Meanwhile, here are few more photos where we took the recipe and changed a few things to make Lemon Crunch donuts. Also delicious!

Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts. Some dressed with coconut, and one with graham crumbs as a test.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donuts.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donut Eclairs.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donut Eclairs.
Home made Lemon Crunch Cake Donut Eclairs.

Update July 2023

Someone asked if the walnut crunch recipe can be oven baked. I said yes but honestly I was not sure so I made a batch and added the following ingredients:

  • doubled the baking powder to the dry ingredients
  • added an additional 2 tablespoons of oil (veg or canola) to the liquids (in Parts C)

I took a guess the extra baking power would provide a boost in the oven. The addition of the oil would assist with keeping the donut soft after baking. Everything else for the recipe stays as is. I baked them in the oven just like baking a pan of cookies, 350ºF for about 10 minutes. Your oven may vary. When you slightly press the top of the donut after 10 minutes you don’t want to leave an impression of your finger.

Glaze them right away. I’ll be honest, they tasted a little bit like a brownie the same day they were baked. The next day, they tasted more like walnut crunch. That’s true of a lot of baked goods. Give them time to sit overnight and the flavours have a chance to cool and settle in.

Oven baked walnut crunch.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a question? Or have you tried the recipe? Let me know by leaving a message below.

A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.


    • Jim Barry

      You probably could but you would have to change the recipe a bit. I’d probably try it by adding a little more baking powder and making the batter a little softer and use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. Then let it sit out on the pan for 30-60 minutes before baking it. Time and temp I am not sure of but a good starting point may be to treat it like a brownie batter.

  • Harris connor

    Jim you knocked it out of the park. Best donut recipe I have ever made. Puts Tom Hortons walnut crunch to shame. Thank you!


    Jan. 10, 2024 and Tim Hortons reintroduces the Walnut Crunch after “Listening to the people”
    Right!! I would have liked them to bring back the cherry stick and the orange stick! Or was that Robin’s Donuts that had those in the late 80’s when I was enjoying them in Edmonton. The people would probably have preferred a permanent menu space, rather than the month long limited time offer.
    I look forward to doing the above recipes except for the walnut crunch, which I don’t eat. Maybe I could make them anyways and set up a stand near Tims and sell them when they take them off their menu again for another year.
    Real whipped cream will always beat their Whipped Topping.
    Thanks for the recipe ideas.
    I did come across silicone mini loaf pans in Super Store a while back, instantly reminded me of the above loafs/sticks/crunches.

    • Jim Barry

      Hi, I don’t think I have a recipe specifically from Lemon Crunch. If I recall correctly, I just took a buttermilk cake donut recipe and made the shapes different, and added lemon flavouring and lemon zest to the batter.

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