Nettle and Lemon cake
Nettles aren't only useful in savoury dishes - they also make great additions to numerous baked products! I love putting them into cakes - especially this simple loaf cake with lemon. Nettles are so versatile - they can even be used to make a delicious cordial that is fabulous served with sparkling water, ice and lemon on a hot day. Or put it in a cocktail for something a bit different.
NETTLE AND LEMON CAKE
Makes 1 loaf cake
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes
100 g raw young nettle leaves
200 g unsalted butter, softened
150 g granulated sugar
3 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
The juice and zest of one lemon
250 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g icing sugar
To decorate: edible flowers from the garden (I used daisies, dandelion petals and ground ivy flowers)
1. Preheat oven to 170C fan. Grease and line a 2lb (900g) loaf tin (I used a handy loaf tin liner, like this).
2. Carefully wash the nettles and blanch them in simmering water for 5 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water, then squeeze as much water out as possible (the sting is gone once they are cooked).
3. In a food processor, bullet blender or with a hand blender, whizz together the eggs with the cooked nettles. Set aside.
4. Cream together the butter and sugar. Then, gradually beat in the egg and nettle mixture, the vanilla essence (if using) and half of the lemon juice and zest.
5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, stir to combine the finished mixture.
6. Spoon into the lined loaf tin and bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Cool in the loaf tin, meanwhile make the icing.
8. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the remaining half of lemon juice and enough water til you have a thick double cream consistency.
9. Smear onto the top of the cool cake, and decorate with garden flowers and the remaining lemon zest.