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Acorn Flour Cake

acorn flour honey cake

The Italians make a sweet chestnut cake called castagnaccio, so I decided to replicate that with acorn flour – the two nuts are remarkably similar. But then I read up on castagnaccio, and saw it was heavy, almost hockey puck-like. So I decided to go French instead, adding leaveners and beaten egg whites to lighten the cake. I found a version of a chestnut cake like this in an old Gourmet magazine, and this acorn cake recipe is a riff off that.

These are lovely done in a 9-inch springform pan, but are equally good in buttered ramekins. Be sure to use a small circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the ramekin, and butter both sides. This will help you get the little cakes out easier. Oh, and don’t forget they rise, so don’t fill them too high.

Dust them with confectioner’s sugar at the end, and if you want to get really fancy, cut out the shape of an oak tree in parchment paper and use it as a stencil.

Since most of you will probably not be rushing out to pound your own acorn flour, you can do this recipe just fine with chestnut flour, which my friend Scott from Sausage Debauchery sells online here.

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup acorn or chestnut flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour or all-purpose wheat flour
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped pine nuts (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 separated eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  • Butter for greasing pans
  1. Grease the springform pan or ramekins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the acorn flour, wheat flour, baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in another large bowl, beat the egg yolks, oil, honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar together until it looks like caramel. Mix in the dry ingredients.
  4. In another bowl, add the egg whites and just a pinch of salt and beat into soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat a bit more, so the whites are reaching the firm peak stage.
  5. Fold this into the dough a little at a time gently.
  6. Pour, or really gently place, the dough into the ramekins (remember they will rise!) or the springform pan. Using a rubber spatula flatten out the top and place in the oven as fast as you can.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, watch for burning, as acorn flour browns faster than chestnut flour. Remove from the oven, let rest 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
  8. When they have cooled for a good 15-20 minutes or so, dust with the confectioner’s sugar.

More Acorn Recipes

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4 responses to “Acorn Flour Cake”

  1. Tina

    Glad to have you back blogging again! One thing that might help your Acorn Cake recipe would be to swap out bread flour for the all purpose. The higher gluten content might help bind things a little better. I wouldn’t normally suggest bread flour for this type of recipe, but in this case, since you have no gluten in the acorn flour, it may help. You may also want to play with the liquid content a little. The only liquid component of the recipe besides the olive oil is egg yolk, which of course has a high fat to water ratio. The addition of a small quantity of liquid, even a couple tablespoons, would definitely help develop the gluten. If fact, that might be enough to correct the problem without the bread flour.

    By the way, in the case of white oak acorns, which you mentioned as having a relatively low tannin conent, how many times do they need to be leached? Since white oak is so common here in Pennsylvania, I’m thinking of giving them a try.

  2. Michael

    Hank,

    Use Tapioca Starch to get a better consistency and have it be more like cake. that was what the baker used in the smaller cake that we had at the wedding and it was great. You could also try some Arrowroot in there too, as it works well and it really sweet.

  3. E. Nassar

    My suggestion would be to skip the egg separating step and simply treat this like a muffin batter. I do not think you need that much whipped air in there.
    I am very intrigued with acorns, as a kid in Lebanon we used to collect them and taste a couple to see if they are not too bitter. Then roast them like chestnuts. In Suburban Houston these days my 3 year old loves to collect acorns and stuffs them in his pockets. I tasted a few, but alas they are pretty bitter. I have not tried leaching them and roasting….yet.

  4. Rose

    To make it stick together more I have a few suggestions.

    First I’m not sure if this will help with sticking but I think it’s over leavened. My bible for making my own recipes is Cookwise by Shirley O. Corriher. She says you need 1t baking powder or 1/4t baking soda + acid per cup of flower. I think you might be able to cut the leavening down to 1/4 t soda which should react with the acid in the honey. (Are the acorns acidic?)

    Another idea when I do alternative cooking I use boiled flax seed as both an egg replacement and a gluten replacement. I microwave a tablespoon or two in some water till it looks a little gluey. Then stir and cool until a lot gluey. Then mix in the other liquids slowly. I think I do 2T + 1/4 water but usually wing it at the time.

    When doing no/low gluten I will also often substitute in some potato starch to make stuff “stick”. I tried tapioca when my baby was allergic to potato… but the texture was too sticky/wrong. Thankfully allergy is outgrown. :)

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