Hazelnut Cornmeal Cake with Rosemary Honey Recipe

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Instead of always going for sweets with highly processed ingredients – or not eating any sweets at all – Nickerson offers a happy medium: to enjoy a homemade treat every once in a while using healthier ingredients.
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Through “Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen,” Brittany Wood Nickerson shows readers that cooking well in the kitchen and using herbal ingredients doesn’t just provide “good food.” It also initiates a pathway to a healthy and healing lifestyle.
8 servings SERVINGS


  • 1-1/4 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Rosemary Honey Topping

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried


  • Soak the hazelnuts in enough water to cover them by 2 inches for at least 4 hours, and up to 12 hours. Drain, then put the hazelnuts in a food processor and grind until they create a coarse flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius). Grease a 9-inch round pan.
  • Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix well with an electric mixer. Add the homemade hazelnut flour, along with the cornmeal, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest, and mix well. Then add the baking powder and salt and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and then remove from the pan.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the rosemary honey topping: Combine the honey and rosemary in the top of a double boiler. Bring an inch or two of water in the lower pan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the honey and rosemary infuse until the mixture gives off a rich, earthy aroma, 15 to 20 minutes. (You can substitute other herb-infused honeys if you like; lavender and sage are two of my other favorites.)
  • Slice the cake, plate, and top each slice with a drizzle of rosemary honey. It is best when the honey is warm. If you prepare this cake in advance, drizzle the warm honey over the entire cake at once and place a sprig of fresh rosemary on top.

    More recipes from Recipes from the Herbalist's Kitchen:

    Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe
    Excerpted from Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen, © by Brittany Wood Nickerson, photography by © Keller + Keller Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen.

Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen (Storey Publishing, 2017) by Brittany Wood Nickerson is where good food meets healing properties in a variety of unique recipes. From rosemary-olive oil tea cake to lavender and dandelion flower muffins, Nickerson shows readers how to use an herbalist’s touch in what we cook for a sustenance-filled, healing collection of recipes. For a tasty treat, while also avoiding overly processed desserts, learn how to make a cornmeal cake with enticing flavor combinations — notably a drizzle of rosemary honey.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen.

We are hardwired to want to eat delicious treats. Unfortunately, there is so much poor-quality food out there that when it comes to eating sweet treats, many people either blindly eat too much or spend more time avoiding and trying to resist temptation than they do enjoying the good-quality options. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a dessert or a sweet treat. In fact, hanging out at the dinner table for long enough to eat dessert after a meal would be a good thing for most people! Instead of spending energy thinking about all the sweet treats you don’t believe you should nibble, try putting that energy into making and enjoying a homemade dessert every now and again.