2cups(100g) packed raw young nettle leaves(use the top 4-6 leaves)
¾cup(200g) butterat room temperature
¾cup(150g) granulated sugar
zest and juice of ½ lemon
2cups(250g) all-purpose (plain) flour
For the Lemon Buttercream:
⅔cup(150g) butterat room temperature
2 ½cups(300g) powdered icing sugar
Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
For the Nettle Cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F / 170°C. Grease and line two 7” (18cm) round cake tins.
Using rubber gloves, carefully wash the stinging nettle leaves and remove any stems. Place in a pan of boiling water and boil for 3-4 minutes. The sting will be removed with the boiling. Rinse under cold water, drain and puree with a stick blender (note: if you're struggling to puree it, add the lemon juice at this stage). Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the pureed nettles, vanilla, zest and lemon juice.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to gently combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, push to the edges and level, then bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
For the Lemon Frosting:
In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and beat. Beat in the zest and a little of the lemon juice. Add more lemon juice to make it a frosting consistency and beat again. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Spread a little of the buttercream between the layers of the completely cooled cakes and sandwich together. Cover the cake in the remaining buttercream and decorate with blackberries and lemon zest.
Often you can find nettles at farmer's markets to save you foraging your own.
If you forage your nettles, choose the top 4 sets of leaves (they're more tender) and be sure to use rubber gloves. Forage away from busy paths, roads and sources of pollution.
If you're struggling to puree the nettles, add the lemon juice at that stage. A stick immersion blender or standard blender work well for pureeing.
Ensure the nettles are pureed completely for the best solid green colour. If you can't puree it fully the cake will still be delicious, but the colour will be more flecks of green than solid green.
I topped the cake with blackberries, but you could top it with any fruit, or just leave it with the simple lemon frosting. Zingy and delicious.