Instead of cursing the abundance of nettles at this time of year, why not make use of them? My constant quest for new flavours and recipes, especially money-saving ideas, inspired me to experiment baking with nettles this week and the result was a resounding success. The colour of the cake is interesting but the flavour is lovely (not too sweet), the cake is very moist and it must be good for you!
NB Wear thick gloves to pick and handle the raw nettles – they lose their sting once boiled or steamed. Only pick the tender top leaves and don’t include any flowers.
Nettle and Honey Cake
1-2 (gloved) handfuls of raw nettles
75g butter or margarine
30g dark muscovado sugar
160g clear honey
2 large eggs beaten
Vanilla paste or essence
200g self-raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 160C, 140C Fan or Gas mark 2. Grease and line a 20cm diameter cake tin (or 2 sandwich tins) with greaseproof paper.
- Using gloves, wash the nettles and steam or simmer in a minimal amount of water for 5 minutes. Remove excess liquid (through a sieve or squeezing with a wooden spoon) and blend with a food blender. Then squeeze a little more liquid out, though not so much that you remove all the flavour.
- Melt the butter/margarine, sugar & honey over a low heat. Add the puréed nettles and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Beat the eggs and vanilla paste/essence into the butter/nettle mixture, then gently stir in the flour. Pour into the cake tin(s) & bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes (or less if in 2 shallow tins), until golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed and/or a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
If you want to top and sandwich together the cakes, why not try lemon buttercream or cream cheese icing?