Olive Oil Nettle Cake

This week we’ve got a fascinating recipe for you, which we prepared using the last nettles of the season. We love nettles! A few weeks ago we made a wonderful nettle pesto, so this week we decided to go for something a bit more unusual. In Greece we usually put nettles in pies, but it’s rare that we would ever make something sweet.

But there was Mrs Kalliopi’s delicious olive oil cake recipe, which called for fresh fruit -we had originally made it with graded apples, if you remember? So we thought, why not try with nettles? So there you have it, a bright green olive oil cake with nettles –and a bit of apple. Nettles have a unique flavour, imagine something between spinach, cucumber, a bit grassy, this sort of thing. So now imagine a sweet version of this, and that’s our cake!

As always, make sure to use gloves when handling nettles and to blanch them before using them in cooking.

Makes one small tin

½ cup olive oil
1 large bunch of nettles
1 large green apple
zest from 1 lemon (optional)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Apple oil (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Using gloves, pick the leaves from the nettles and discard the stalks.
In a large pot with boiling water blanch the nettles for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. Finely chop or (better), blend them into a smooth paste. You should be left with roughly ¾ cups of nettle pulp.

Peel, core and grate the apple. Mix together the apple, nettle pulp and lemon zest if using. Set aside

In a separate bowl sieve together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and olive oil. Add the egg and whisk again until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Add the nettles and apple and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a greased and floured baking tin. Bake at 180°C for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown on top and cooked through. To check, you can insert a knife and see if it comes our clean.

Serve with Greek yoghurt and our fragrant apple oil!

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