Spring Dessert: Nettle and Honey Cake with Gorse Flower Syrup
Five years ago I wrote a blog about my Nettle and Honey Cake – it went down a treat. Named as; ‘the best I’ve ever had’ by one enthusiastic forager, it was one of my many ideas I was actually able to follow through with (I have quite a creative mind at times, and have more ideas than I have time to create).
Every so often I like to repeat recipes, and see if they need tweaking, enjoy the flavours again and share them. Over the last few years I’ve also found that nettles combines well with ginger and with lemon and this cake has a texture reminiscent of moist ginger cake too.
However, last week I made a new discovery; nettle cake (urtica dioica) and gorse (ulex gallii, ulex europaeus) flower syrup! It’s a wild and divine combination.
A Spring Dessert: Nettle and Honey Cake with Gorse Flower Syrup
An almost toffee flavoured, moist, not too sweet cake, with a sweet hit of moorland gorse flavours drizzled over it. Somehow, this whole combination reminds me of green tea, perhaps it is the lovingly received health benefits of these local, wild ingredients, or just the natural flavours of green nettles and infused gorse.
- 50-75g nettle tops
- 250g clear honey
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 225g butter
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 300g white flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
For the syrup
- 50g fresh gorse flowers
- 225g unrefined sugar
- 300ml water
Place the gorse flowers in a medium saucepan with the water and sugar and bring to the boil. Immediately take off the heat, cover with a lid and leave overnight (or for as many hours as you can). The next day bring the liquid to the boil again and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and store in sterilised bottles in the fridge or freeze in ice cube containers and defrost as needed. Will last a month or so if not frozen.
Line a 20cm square or round cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Steam the nettles for 5 minutes and put aside to cool. Place the honey, sugar and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and combined. Once the nettles are cooled, blend with the eggs to make a smooth, green pulp. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and gradually beat in the melted sugar and butter mix. It will resemble a lovely toffee colour.
Pour in the pureed nettles and blended eggs and beat together.
It makes a wonderful green, raw cake mixture colour! Pour into the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, or the cake springs back when touched. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin onto a cooling rack, and cool completely before slicing. Serve with gorse flower syrup.