My friend Marjorie had the idea for a cake made with products from seven trees, so I made up a recipe for her birthday. She doesn’t eat wheat, dairy or sugar, so it was a fun challenge. But I would be happy to serve the results to anyone.
Our cake included local ingredients, including acorn meal, mesquite meal, pecan meal and whole pecans. We topped the cake with fresh apricots and mulberries from my mom’s tree I froze from last month. The cake is sweetened with maple butter.
Marjorie was inspired to harvest and clean urban cultivated Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) acorns by John Slattery. I’ve used acorns in savory items like crackers or soup, but this was my first experiment in dessert. Marjorie’s acorns were dry enough to shell without further drying or toasting.
Then I ground the meal in a coffee grinder and leached the bitter tannin from the meal using John’s method. Formerly, I had only leached whole acorns or used species that didn’t need leaching. I placed acorn meal in a jar of cold water, shook several times over half an hour or so, strained though a cloth and squeezed out the moisture.
It’s almost time to harvest mesquite pods to make into meal. To learn all about harvesting mesquite and many other desert foods in the next few weeks, see Desert Harvesters.
The mesquite in the bottom layer of the cake and the acorn in the top layer shine though. The coconut and pecan are surprisingly neutral as the bulk of the dry ingredients.
The main wet ingredient is egg, making a very nice moist, dense cake texture, almost like a fruit cake. I used maple butter, a concentrated maple syrup heated and whipped to form a creamy spread, but maple syrup would work. Since maple syrup is less sweet than maple butter, increase the quantity if using. I used ground vanilla pods since someone gave it to me, but twice the amount of vanilla extract would be fine.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. This would make a great muffin or cupcake, too.
We put a little coconut cream in between the layers to make them stick together.
The apricots from the farmers market were firm and tart, so we tossed them in a saucepan with a bit of maple butter to glaze them.
I had mulberries in the freezer from my mom’s tree last month.
Seven Trees Cake
Makes one 9” cake layer
I made this recipe once with acorn meal to make the top layer, once with mesquite meal to make the bottom layer.
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup pecan flour
3 tablespoons acorn meal OR 2 tablespoons mesquite flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla powder
½ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple butter
¼ cup coconut cream
Coconut cream to adhere layers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9” non-stick spring from pan. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix wet ingredients together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until pick comes out clean, and cake edges come away from the pan and slightly brown. Remove from pan and cool.
If making two layers, adhere the two with coconut cream. Slice apricots and toss in a pan with a bit of maple butter or syrup until glazed. Arrange fruits and nuts on the top. Store in the refrigerator.