Recipe: The Mossy Cake
- posted on: March 25, 2020
- posted by: Kari Fetrow
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Every spring there are these little green plants that pop up out of the ground and sting you when you touch them, of course I’m talking about: Nettles. Who would have thought that they would be one of the most delicious greens in the world. Not to mention one of the most nutritious, they are jam packed full of vitamins A, C, K, and B! Not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties these green gems have.
When shopping for these little guys they can fetch a really high price, but living in the PNW we have a huge opportunity. They grow everywhere in America, but they seem to grow particularly well in our wet rain-foresty environment. You will be able to find them in areas that are well lit and very moist, most easily near rivers, streams, lakes, and around farm land (that’s why they grow so well on the 21 Acres Farm!). They literally grow EVERYWHERE you just have to know what you’re looking for. Here are some tips to go about harvesting them:
- Tender young greens are best, so right when they are just beginning to peak up out of the ground.
- There will be two harvest times during the season. In the early Spring March through April and sometimes into early May and early Fall when the mature plants start shooting new sprouts.
- When harvesting wear gloves and pinch very hard. Pinching hard will reduce the gentle fibers from stinging you.
- Always forage more than you think you need. When cooked they reduce in size by 75%.
- Always cook them and do not eat them raw or your mouth will be really unhappy with you.
Now that you know all there is about harvesting nettles, you are ready to make the most delicious and beautiful cake known to man. As I was cruising around on the internet, I ran across this amazing Nettle Cake by The Wondersmith. I made this cake following their directions to a T and it turned out just wonderful! The flavor of the nettles and the citrus was a flavor profile I didn’t know I needed to try. Sweet and citrus + earthy greens = amazing!
- 1 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 6 Sasquatch Mesa or Sky Valley Eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4 Tbs. lemon juice
- zest of two lemons
- 2 c. nettle puree (or spinach puree)
- 4 c. flour, we suggest Cara Club or Sonora
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Start by laying your nettles out on the counter and letting them wilt. Once they are wilted their stinging effect is gone. After they are wilted add them into your blender or food processor with a tbsp or two of water (more many be needed). Once pureed set aside.
Preheat your oven to 325F and prepare 2 (9”) cake pans and 1 smaller pan (any shape) by lightly greasing and dusting with flour. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom and grease it as well.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are well combined. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix well. Add the nettle puree.
In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well, then mix into the nettle mixture.
Pour into baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or about 25 minutes.
Douglas Fir Grapefruit Buttercream:
- 1 c. shortening or Cherry Valley Butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter or shortening)
- 1 Tbs. ground fresh Douglas Fir needles
- 1 1/2 Tbs. grapefruit juice
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar (1 lb.)
Cream the shortening, salt, and fir needles until smooth and creamy. Add 4 cups powdered sugar and mix at low speed until incorporated to make a stiff dough.
Add the grapefruit juice and mix until smooth. Assess the consistency and add more powdered sugar or grapefruit juice as desired.
To ice and decorate the cake, first allow it to cool completely. With a long bread knife, trim the tops of the cake so that they are flat. Place one cake onto a serving plate and place strips of waxed paper around the cake for easier clean up later.
Spread a layer of frosting over the top of the cake, then carefully set the other cake on top. At this point it can be helpful to place the cake in the fridge for an hour or so for it to firm up. Meanwhile, crumble the scraps from the tops of the cake and the smaller extra cake into coarse crumbs using your hands or a food processor.
Spread the rest of the frosting over the entire cake and press the crumbs into the surface to look like moss. Remove the strips of waxed paper and serve!