February 3rd and a very chilly snow sprinkled morning,the ground is too frozen for foraging so it’s a day for baking, using some store cupboard foraged ingredients, something sweet methinks, though sugar free.. I will use some of my store of Hazelnuts and a dash of Beech Leaf Liqueur in a cake which will be wheat and dairy free and I will also make a spread from raw Cacao soft avocados and sweeten with  Xylitol and/or Agave syrup, maybe add some milled Hazelnuts to that also.Xylitol is derived from Birch trees so even though I did not gather and process, it is a wild ingredient.

Shelling your own Hazelnuts is slow, wrap nuts in a tea towel or clean cloth and bash with a rolling pin, you will get to know just how much force to use so as to crack the nuts but not crush them.Then you can toast them carefully and rub off the skins,  blitz in blender, in batches till fine.In the recipe I use 300grms of hazelnuts but you could make from a mix of Hazelnuts and  Almonds.


Hazelnut cake with Beech Liqueur drizzle .(wheat, dairy and sugar free)

Oven 175 degrees; 20cm round springform cake tin, oiled and base lined with baking parchment

300grms Ground Hazelnuts,

Half teaspoon of baking powder.

5 medium organic eggs.

Tablespoon of Agave syrup.

1 shot of strong espresso,

1 shot of Beech Leaf Liqueur.

In a bowl mix almonds, hazelnuts and baking powder.

Beat eggs till pale and add agave slowly with mixer on slow speed, when well mixed gently fold in dry ingredients,  to combine taking care not to overmix and loose volume.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake at 175 degrees for 20 mins, insert skewer into center of cake to test and bake a little longer if needed.Cool in tin for ten mins and then remove from tin. When cooled place a circle of parchment over top of cake, invert carefully and peel off parchment cake was baked on, turn cake right side up onto serving plate.

Combine espresso and Liqueur and drizzle over cake.


If you like dairy you can also serve with whipped cream or Creme Fraiche laced with a little more Liqueur.Or use dairy free yogurt.

If you want to omit alcohol you could serve with Elderberry syrup.



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