"Fuller's walnut cake"
One version of walnut cake - although, sadly, not a Fuller's!
Creative Commons AttributionOne version of walnut cake - although, sadly, not a Fuller's! - Credit: Sarah, Flickr

The Fuller's cake and confectionary company was established in the last decade of the 19th century by American William Bruce Fuller, whose first shop was on Oxford Street in London. 

By 1909 the company had 24 teashops which used a distinctive white china with 'Fullers' stamped on it in red; by the 1950s, Fullers had 82 shops selling a range of cakes, Easter Eggs and chocolates.

Fuller's walnut cake was a layered sponge cake containing ground walnuts, with soft icing between the layers. It was topped with a crunchier icing (the colour of which is sometimes described as café au lait) and decorated with walnut halves.

Click here to see a modern-day lookalike.

Journalist and author Max Hastings recalls being sent Fuller's walnut cakes and Fuller's chocolate cakes (which cost six shillings!) when he was at boarding school in the 1950s.

In literature, Fuller's walnut cake is often portrayed as something quintessentially English. For example, Polly in Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate recalls how she became nostalgic for it whilst living abroad:

Fuller's! You'll never know how much I used to long for Dover sole and walnut cake and just this sort of day, in Sicily.

Another kind of Fuller's cake, 'angel-cake', also gets a mention in John Betjeman's poem, Myfanwy.