Sow thistle & berry cake

Sow thistle & berry cake

Sow thistle & clover

Yeah yeah I know what you’re thinking. It looks like someone’s all dolled up in white and is about to walk down the aisle.

Are we off to a wedding?

Um ….. no.

This is just me stuffing around after a spot of foraging and baking.

Sow thistle & berry cake

So I found a new little foraging area not all that far from my house, and thanks to being spring, all of the wildflowers are in bloom. Some would call them weeds, but when certain weeds can also be eaten, they fall out of that category as far as I’m concerned.

It’s an industrial part of the suburb near the rail corridor – not the prettiest part of town – but the variety of edible weeds in one smallish area is kind of impressive.

Sow thistle butter

What first caught my eye were the yellow blooms from sow thistle – a cousin to common dandelion. Out came the foraging scissors. As I walked around snipping and passing the handfuls to my rather patient other half, I snipped a few other weeds I recognised as also being edible.

White clover, black mustard flowers and lantana. Admittedly I did consult a wild food expert about the black mustard flowers. A few native violets joined in on the fun, a ground cover that now happily grows along my street.

Sow thistle & berry cake

The bulk of the flowers I picked were sow thistle, which I whizzed up with butter and used in the cakes I made. The colour that came out of the petals is incredible, but not much of the flavour came through. Probably a good thing as it’s a tad on the bitter side – both flowers and leaves.

In the middle of the cake is a handful of blueberries and raspberries – adding beautiful colour and compote-like texture to the core of the golden sponge.

Yes it would have been easier to serve up the cake heavily dusted in icing sugar, but with my freshly foraged herbs and flowers, why not cover it with them?

So that’s my sow thistle and berry cake. Or should I say “weed cake?”

Sow thistle & berry cake


Print Recipe
Sow thistle & berry cake
Turning the common sow thistle 'weed' into a beautiful cake decorated with even more weeds.
Sow thistle & berry cake
Course Dessert
Course Dessert
Sow thistle & berry cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line two 11cm x 6cm cake tins.
  2. Beat the butter and sow thistle petals in a heatproof bowl until well incorporated. Place the bowl of butter into the heating oven to melt as you prepare the rest of the batter.
  3. If the icing sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds. Set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites for 2 minutes. Fold the melted butter, beaten egg whites and vanilla into the almond mixture. Pour half of the cake batter into each of the lined cake tins. Drop half of the berries into the centre of each tin, then pour in the remaining cake batter.
  5. Cook for 50 minutes until golden, or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  6. Cool in the tins completely before tuning out.
  7. Dust the cakes with icing sugar and decorate with wildflowers, if you wish.
Recipe Notes

If you're going out foraging be 100% certain that what you're picking is edible. When in doubt, don't pick it - or consult an expert.

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  • I just found your blog today and am utterly charmed. What a gorgeous cake. 🙂 It reminds me of the beautiful children’s stories, Brambly Hedge. 🙂

    • Thanks Krista! I see what you mean about Brambly Hedge. Now that takes me back!

  • I have to confess that you set my expectations rther high when you called it “weed cake,” but even so, I must say that I’m so stoked to have come across your blog. This is another intreguing cake, so beautifully photographed!

    • Yeah I wasn’t sure whether I should reference that particular weed. I’m sure if I used the same quantity of the “green stuff” in this cake they’d be pretty special to those that partake 😉

  • I am really loving your desserts thread these days. I’m not sure this is one I’ll be able to make. Do you know if sow thistle grows in the United States?

    • It sure does, David even in your state of Arizona. It was introduced there from Europe many years ago, I believe. Check near roadsides, buildings and grassy plots. Common dandelion is a perfect (if not better) substitute. Dandelion is a bit sweeter. Just make sure the area it grows doesn’t get sprayed with insecticides!

      • Ah… Regular dandelion (the flower of my college) is really easy to come by! I will check the roadsides, too, for the sow thistle!

  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    You are my foraging superhero.

  • Barry Ozmo

    nice cake 😉

  • The inside looks as gorgeous as the outside. i was going to ask where you got your wild weeds from as I need some for a cake this weekend but maybe its a bit of a risk feeding weeks to 100 people.

  • So much pretty! Keep meaning to go on a foraging intro tour one day. And I need to find your secret foraging spot. Haha

    • Perhaps I’ll scout around your area and let you know what I come across 😉

  • AmandaChewTown

    So… when are you leading us on a merry forage?! xx

  • Claudfin

    this is such a romantic picture… I’m swooning…I had to pin it

  • Mila Furman

    You made cakes out of flowers? Seriously? You forage? Are you the Australian Male Martha Stewart? I’m swooning over here at the beauty of this cake… WOW. You are too much 🙂

  • Magdalena Leja

    Love Love Love !!!

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  • Ioana Negulescu

    Lovely photos, and the cake looks so beautiful and simple. Love it!

    Ioana, from Berries and Spice

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