Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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Slice of mint and coconut fridge cake surrounded by mint flowers

I was brought up on cake and outdoor adventures. Desserts heavy with white sugar were a daily affair. On leaving home I started experimenting with alternative sweeteners and different ways to create sweet edible treats. Combining the outdoors and food excites me, and this fridge cake, infused with wild mints, transports me to a shady river where mint likes to grow. Pure bliss in the height of summer!

Mint and Coconut Fridge Cake Recipe

It was a hot summer and I was craving something refreshingly cool with a tinge of sweet. I wanted to avoid the heaviness of dairy, and although rich, this one hit the spot. It happens to be vegan and gluten-free too.

Mint is one of the wild edible plants I teach on summer foraging courses and it is also a herb I sometimes add to my wild salsa verde recipe.

Which mint leaves to use?

You can use any wild or cultivated mint leaves for this recipe, though some mints, such as spearmint (Mentha spicata), and peppermint (Mentha piperita) are stronger than others, so you may need to adjust the amount. Water mint (Mentha aquatica) and apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) have a more subtle flavour.

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 200 g cashew nuts
  • 60 g desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 40 to 50 mint leaves

For the base

  • 30 g coconut oil
  • 100 g pitted dates
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • Pinch of sea salt

Soak the cashew nuts for up to four hours, if you’ve less time, pour boiling water over them and leave for at least an hour. Meanwhile, grease and line a 23 cm tin with parchment paper ideally with a removable base.

Prepare the fridge cake base by combining the oil, dates and ground almonds and salt in a food processor until a loose dough forms. Alternatively, warm the coconut oil in a small saucepan, stir in the dates and salt and put aside for 10 minutes. Add the ground almonds and using your hands (I find this gets better results than a wooden spoon) combine the mixture until the dates have broken down and you have a sticky dough. Press the mixture into the tin to make an even base and place in the fridge.

Strain the cashew nuts, discarding the water and blend with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Spoon the topping onto the biscuit base and carefully smooth over. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours and remove just before serving. This also freezes well, just wait 10 minutes before slicing and enjoy cold.

Slices of wild mint and coconut fridge cake
A roll of freshly made Spring wild herb butter

This is so easy and a great way to use wild herbs and smother baked potatoes, toast, fish or anything you wish with foraged goodness. The butter can either be used within one week or frozen and sliced as needed.

A handful of freshly picked sorrel leaves

When to make herb butters

Spring is often when an abundance of herbs appear and are at their best. In summer most flower and seed late-summer to autumn. You may find a new bounty in Autumn but bear the flurry of spring greens in mind!

Ingredients

60 g butter, room temperature
1 tbsp wild herbs

Herbs you could use:

  • sorrel
  • wild chervil
  • wild garlic
  • mints
  • scurvy grass
  • wild mustard
  • hairy bittercress
  • fennel
  • yarrow leaves

Method: Wash and dry the herb you are going to use, this minimises the water which doesn't blend brilliantly with fat! I pat mine dry on a tea towel. Finely chop and blend thoroughly with the butter. Use immediately, or if you're going to keep or freeze it, I wrap mine in greaseproof paper and roll into a sausage-shape. Once in a sausage-shape, it it is easy to slice from fresh or frozen and watch melt over hot food.

Wrapped herb butter ready to freeze

All the herbs mentioned are taught on my foraging courses, especially in Spring but perhaps not all on the same course! You can also keep up to date with what I'm foraging, making or cooking at @rachellambertwildfoodforaging

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