Beth’s Crazy Mesquite Cake
by Guest blogger: Beth Weicht
When we moved to our current home, I planted in pots some mesquite seeds I had picked up from the native (velvet) mesquites at Granada Park in Phoenix. As an experiment, some I scarified, some I soaked in water overnight (all of these sprouted in about 2 weeks) and some I just planted (these took a month to come up). Once they grew big enough, I planted them in the front yard and now we have 6 huge mesquite trees that provide great shade on the western side, as well as large amounts of pods in June.
After attending Peggy Sorensen’s recent talk on mesquite, I tried making flour using a coffee grinder, and wanted to try it in a recipe. So I adapted a crazy cake recipe (it’s also called wacky cake or depression cake, since the recipe originated during the depression when eggs, milk and butter were hard to come by). I needed to make it gluten free, and since mesquite flour is so sweet, decided to try to omit the sugar (it worked!).
Each of our trees produces pods that are slightly different in color, shape and texture. I’ve done taste tests and the pods that taste the best are creamy to tan in color and have a high pod to bean ratio. As you can see from the picture, the pods are thick. This gives the flour a sweet, mellow taste, with less “beany” flavor than some. The taste of your cake will be very dependent on the taste of the mesquite pods, so make sure you like your pods!
OK, so here is the recipe:
1 C (3.5 oz or 100g) almond meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill superfine)
1 1/2 C mesquite flour (4.5 oz or 130g) – make sure it is well sifted
3 T cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
4 t (or 1 T +1 t) flax meal
1 t vanilla to one
1/4 C oil to another – I like to use avocado oil
1 T white vinegar to the third
and 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 and line a loaf pan with parchment.
Combine above dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to mix. Make three wells or holes in the mixture and add the first three liquid ingredients in separate wells.
Pour 1/2 C water over all and stir well (but not too much, just until completely mixed). The consistency of the batter should be like soft serve ice cream. If it is too thick, add another 2-4 T water.
Use a spatula to put batter in loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan and then slice and enjoy! I like to eat it with a dollop of sour cream or whipped cream cheese.
You can also double the recipe and bake it in an 8×8 pan for about 55 min.
Here is a picture of the batter before putting in the oven. You can see it is fairly thick.
And here is a slice ready to eat!
For a cardamom spice cake, omit cocoa powder and instead add to dry ingredients:
1 t cardamom
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
and add 1 T molasses to the 1/2 C of water before you pour it over all.
For a carrot cake, omit the cocoa powder and instead add:
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t nutmeg
Then at the same time you add the water, also add
3/4 C grated carrots
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C raisins
I hope all you mesquite harvesters out there enjoy this recipe and have many happy harvesting, milling and cooking days!
About this author:
Beth lives in central Phoenix and loves to grow fruit trees, veggies, herbs, flowers and anything edible. She also loves to preserve and cook with her garden edibles – canning, freezing, dehydrating and fermenting. Recent experiments have included fruit wines and mesquite flour and syrup.
Thank you so much for all the good ideas. I too am gluten free, so I appreciate that you created this recipe.
Holy cow this is totally gluten free? So many mesquite flour recipes call for mixing it with regular glutenous flours. I’m stoked to try this. Thanks!!
I’ve just discovered mesquite flour and was so excited to find a recipe without all-purpose flour or sugar. I eat whole food, plant based and trying to find recipes that don’t involve massive tweaking are hard to find. I’m excited to see how it turns out if I switch out the oil for unsweetened applesauce.