Wild Food Foraging - Cultivating Skills &
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Nettle & Honey Cake ~ ‘Possibly the Best Cake I’ve Ever Had!’

Nettles, in a cake?! I know what you’re thinking – what a bizarre combination, and to be honest, even the kids were adamant they weren’t going to try it; “Yuk” – was apparently their response on the way to meet me.  However, at a glorious Spring foraging walk last year at Cape Cornwall, the whole big, green(ish) cake was devoured, and yes, the children were practically in it before it was cut, and ate every last smidgen.

“That’s possibly the best cake I’ve ever eaten” commented one participant – well even I was bowled over by that! So I thought it was time I shared the recipe with you.

I was brought up around baking - friday was baking day in our household, with cakes and snacks being made by mum for the coming week. Three hungry daughters, all with sweet tooths – we were familiar with kneeling on chairs to stir large bowls of cake mixture, placing dollops in paper cases, and carefully ensuring a fair amount missed the cases for us to clean up with light fingers and sticky mouths.

As an adult, my love of cake making, and the alchemy of cooking has remained with me. I can’t boast my mother’s finely honed skills, though I can slowly line a cake tin, and since my teens have experimented with a broad range of cake recipes, from the classic sponge to sweetening with malt barley to adding wild twists.

Nettles, you may know, are a personal favourite of mine, and I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate them into both savoury and sweet dishes. Why miss out on their fabulous nutrition just because you favour cake over soup? No need I say, here’s the recipe. Based on a Devonshire honey cake, it’s rich, sweet in a wholesome way, and utterly, enjoyably cakey;

Nettle Cake

Ingredients

300g self-raising flour
250g clear honey
100g dark muscovado sugar
225g butter
3 large eggs beaten
2 (gloved) handfuls of raw nettles

Weighing Butter     

225g butter                     300g self-raising flour         100g dark muscavado sugar

Weigh out the ingredients, next preheat the oven at 140C, 160C, gas mark 2. Line a 20cm diameter cake tin with grease proof paper.

Line a Cake Tin

Lining a Cake Tin

Grease the sides and base of the tin with a little butter. Cut around the circle of the tin, with a couple of centimetres extra. Cut into the circle, just as far as the size of the tin base. Place inside, folding the paper up where the cuts are so they are rising up the tin sides. Do similar with measuring the cake sides, cutting into the edges again, and holding onto the base. You may need to add a little butter to the cut edges so the paper sticks to each other and holds the shape of the tin.

Using gloves, place nettles in a vegetable steamer (or saucepan with minimum water in) and steam or simmer for 5 minutes. Remove excess liquid (through a sieve or squeezing with a wooden spoon) and blend with a food blender, once blended, squeeze a little extra liquid out, though not too much that you remove all the flavour!

  

Raw Nettles                          Blended Nettles in Sieve

Next, break the butter into pieces & put in a pan with the sugar & honey. On a low heat, stir until melted, transfer contents into a mixing bowl,adding the nettle pulp & put aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.

    

Beat the eggs and add into the butter/sugar/nettle mixture, then stir in the flour. Pour into the cake tin & bake for about 1 hour 10-20 minutes.

   

 

Or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when pressed & a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Remove & leave to cool a little before slicing. Delightful while still warm. Or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when pressed & a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Remove & leave to cool a little before slicing. Delightful while still warm

Nettle Cake can next be experienced at the;

PLENTIFUL WILD FOOD WALK with NETTLE CAKE on Sat 3rd May 2014, 2-4.30pm  Prussia Cove, West Cornwall.
Adults £25, under 16s free

For details and to book please go to; http://www.wildwalks-southwest.co.uk/calendar.php

3 comments:

  1. I am definitely going to try this recipe. Yesterday I had a slice of Nettle and Lemon Cake, which was absolutely delicious.
    I would recommend that anybody with any doubts should put them aside, as this type of cake really is delicious, as is Beetroot Chocolate Cake.
    Perhaps one should serve these cakes to people and not tell them what they contain until they have devoured every last crumb!

    Comment by Nigel P. Herbert — 5 June 2016 8:00 am

  2. Hi, I am interested in making this recipe. Can you tell me, do you know if it freezes well? And what can I expect from the batter, before cooking, is it very loose? Thanks, Lisa.

    Comment by Lisa — 1 February 2017 9:47 pm

  3. Hi, yes it will be loose as you’ll see in the image, hence baking it for over an hour to get a lovely, springy sponge. I’ve no idea about freezing it. My preference would be to serve it fresh. I hope that helps.

    Comment by Rachel — 2 February 2017 10:16 am

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