Edible Monterey Bay

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Acorn Olive Oil Cake With Honey Orange Blossom Syrup

Courtesy Cristin DeVine and Peter Fonken

Fall is prime time for gathering acorns, if you’re so inclined to try your hand at making acorn flour for use in baked items.

Acorn flour, a nutrient-rich food source that has been a staple of indigenous peoples of California for millennia, isn’t hard to make, but it does require soaking and processing to leach out tannins that make it bitter and inedible.

You may use acorn flour as a gluten-free flour substitute in your favorite recipes, although it may absorb slightly more liquid than other gluten-free flours.


1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil (preferably locally sourced)
½ cup honey
2 cups acorn flour (instructions below)
1/3 cup almond flour or meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Note: To fully capture the flavors of the local landscape when cooking with wildcrafted foods like acorn flour, it is beneficial to use as many other ingredients as possible that can be locally sourced. Because olive oil and honey both are strongly influenced by their environment, using locally produced versions allows you to, in essence, taste your local landscape.


1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons orange blossom water
1/3 cup honey (preferably locally sourced)

Note: Orange blossom water can be found at international food stores that sell Middle Eastern foods or at specialty cooking stores.


Preheat oven to 400° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. Oil sides of pan.

Whisk acorn flour, almond  our, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps.

Stir together liqueur, orange juice and vanilla in a separate small bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on high speed (whisk attachment if using a stand mixer) beat eggs, orange zest and honey in a large bowl until mixture is very light—about 5 minutes.

With mixer still on high speed, gradually stream in the oil and beat until incorporated and mixture has become thicker.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the liqueur mixture in 2 additions. Fold mixture several times with a large spatula, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Place cake in preheated oven and immediately reduce temperature to 350° F. Bake until top is golden brown, center is  rm to touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes.


Make the syrup while the cake is baking. Bring orange zest, orange juice, orange blossom water and honey to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush or spoon syrup evenly over the top.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool before removing springform ring. Serve warm or at room temperature with coconut whipped cream, if desired

About the author

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At Edible Monterey Bay, our mission is to celebrate the local food cultures of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties, season by season.