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The Native Seeds

>> Sunday, June 03, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging comes back to Kalyn this week. And for this edition, I have chosen something Australian to feature – wattle seeds.

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Wattle seeds may be new to some of us, but they have been used by the Australian Aboriginal communities for a long time. Wattle seeds come from a range of acacia tree species. According to this link, out of 900 plus species of Acacia, only 100 species are suitable for human consumption.

Roasted and ground, wattle seeds have a wonderful light nutty, chocolaty and coffee aroma. I have read that these seeds are useful in baking. However, I don’t recall seeing a lot of products contain wattle seeds here in Australia. Furthermore, these seeds are generally not available at normal supermarkets. I bought mine as a native speciality from a gourmet shop .

My first experiment with wattle seeds is in this flourless apple and almond cake which comes from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. To my surprise, the original recipe does not contain any flavouring ingredients, i.e. no cinnamon or even vanilla. Having made it once, I found that although the cake had wonderful texture and taste, it still had an unpleasant ‘eggy’ aroma. To fix this, wattle seeds were added to lend some aromatic coffee fragrance to the product. The new combination proved to be wonderful. The cake turned out moist, buttery (even though no butter is used) and aromatic. Great with a cup of coffee or tea.

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Wattle Seed, Apple and Almond Cake

Adapted from this book


3 tart apples (I used Granny Smith)

2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

2 teaspoons castor sugar

8 eggs

325g ground almonds

275g castor sugar

50g slivered or sliced almonds

1 tsp wattle seed

Icing sugar, to serve


For the apple puree: Peel, core and roughly chop apples. Place in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tsp sugar, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until you can mash apple into a rough puree with a wooden spoon or fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 10-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, add eggs, ground almonds, sugar, wattle seeds, cooled apple mixture and remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, and whiz until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with almonds and bake for about 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes and test doneness with a toothpick inserted in center (should be nearly clean).

Cool. Lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

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Angie 8:15 PM  

Hey pal, great to see you back again :) I'm sure things have worked out, I'm happy for you, and congrats!

Hmm..wattle seeds, don't think I've seen this in Sg...but love the generous sprinkling of almond flakes on the cake :p

Kalyn 9:52 PM  

I've never heard of wattle seeds, so I'm excited to learn about something new. They wound interesting, and your photos are just fabulous too! Great entry.

Lydia 10:08 PM  

Wattle seeds are new to me -- I'm going to look for an online source here in the US! Thanks for another wonderful post.

Y 11:25 PM  

Great looking cake! :)

sher 4:20 AM  

I've never heard of them either--so this is quite exciting. I learn so many things from you! The cake looks fabulous.

Note to self: Find wattle seeds!

Nora B. 7:06 AM  

Anh, your cake looks sooooo good! If you lived closer, we could do a cake exchange ;-) I had wattle seeds in a bread for the first time when I went to a "bush food" dinner party. Wattle seeds added a slight nutty, almost coffee like flavour.

Precious Moments 9:47 AM  

ha.... so now I know if anyone ask me what I like from Aussie. hahahaa....

Anh, you are always so good with the styling. Awesome.

SteamyKitchen 11:43 AM  

I've never heard of this before - now I must find it and try!

Johanna 1:38 PM  

Hi anh, thanks for the recipe - I just started looking in Australian indigenous herbs and spices and bought some wattleseed yesterday and was wondering what to do with it - am thinking about trying your recipe if I can get past the 8 eggs - do you think you could get away with less?

Amy 4:02 PM  

Wattle seed is very new to me. I always learn something about plants and herbs on your blog. :) The cake looks beautiful and delicious.

Anh 4:36 PM  

Angie, *hug, hug*. This recipe is really nice. I think cinnamon will do the work, too. And yes, I love love almond.

Kalyn, thank you. Wattle seeds are really lovely.

Lydia, I have come across several sites that sell this in the US. Let me know if you need more references.

Y, thanks dear.

Sher, I learn a lot from you, too. :D I would trade a piece of this for the cherry cake you made. Yum yum!

Nora, yes I would love a cake exchange. Just saw a pineapple cake on your blog. I love pineapple!

Edith, I will bring some over to Singapore if I come by later this year. :P

Jaden, thanks. Hope you can find it.

Johanna, I don't think reducing the eggs is a good idea for this cake. But you can certainly add wattle seeds for cookies or other "healthier" desserts.

Amy, thanks sweetie. We all share something, right? :)

cin,  6:48 PM  

I tried wattleseed in one of Nigella's other recipes and it turned out great too!

I foudn that it goes really well with pecans and espresso because of it's coffe-like fragrance.

Btw, which gourmet shop did you pick up your bottel of wattleseed from?

Patricia Scarpin 10:41 PM  

Anh, your idea is wonderful!
I know wattle seeds are common Down Under, Haalo have made some recipes with them. I'm so curious. :)

Your cake is fabulous - now I want to make this recipe too. :)

Sharmi 8:17 AM  

the Wattle seed really sounds good and new to me. this is a lovely recipe. haven't you posted the photo or is it my system which is having a problem?

Anh 8:41 AM  

Cin, I have seen your delightful bake! Very nice. I picked up my wattle seed bottle at Macro Whole Food in Richmond. I think they have several branches throughout Melbourne. Here's the link to their website:
Otherwise, David Jones and The Essential Ingredients should carry them, too.

Pat, thanks sweetie. Yes, Haalo has used them very nicely. I would start using wattle seeds more, too. :D

Sharmi, I think your PC may have prob viewing images hosted by photobucket. Not sure how to fix it but I have posted all my photos for this post.

Vic 3:06 PM  

Hi Anh,

To answer your many readers' requests as to where they can get Wattleseed - they can try this on-line store for the best Wattleseed available (after all, I did develop this traditional Aboriginal food product as a food flavour).

Also, just to tweak your recipe a little, I tend to pre-boil Wattleseed to soften the grounds and extract the flavour. So in your recipe, you could add the Wattleseed to the apple as it cooks down.

I also avoid other like flavours as they can overwhelm the chocolate, coffee, hazelnut characters in Wattleseed. Thus, if I want a Wattleseed chocolate, I use white chocolate and I avoid strong coffee with Wattleseed.

However, I love Wattleseed with Forest anise in fried mushrooms as it is a perfect marriage of flavours. And for the beer drinkers, an extract made from Wattleseed added to beer is just superb.

Thanks for also pointing readers to my site where I have the history of its development. Here it is again, if needed.

lynn,  10:39 PM  

Beautiful cake! Now I have to search for wattle seeds. I love the way you describe their flavor. It sounds delicious!

Mishmash ! 1:13 AM  

Hello Anh! Following the trail you left on my page, I came here and got hooked! I gave browsed through most of your posts and was admiring the magazine quality food photography and food styling. Somehow, I felt you and Gattina of Kitchen Unplugged share some common grounds....Beautiful- Beautiful blog.

My husband has a Vietanmese colleague at work and she taught me to make egg rolls and I blogged it once :)


Susan 4:31 AM  

Now, I've got to search for wattle seeds. Nutty and chocolately flavors? I can think of many good uses for them. The cake is just lovely. Thanks!

Anh 10:26 AM  

Vic, thanks so much for the info and tips. I'll remember it!

Lynn, thanks sweetie. It's great for baking. I am planning to do some bread with it.

Mishmash, *blush*. thanks for all your sweet words. Your comment really makes my day. :)

Susan, I was amazed with these properties of wattle seeds, too. Yes, there are a lot of things you can do with them. Just let the imagination runs wild!

urban vegan 10:30 AM  

I never heard of wattle intriguing.

joey 9:41 PM  

This is the first time I've heard of these wattle seeds...sounds interesting! :) And that cake sounds really gooood!

Freya and Paul 4:08 AM  

I have exactly the same pot of wattle seeds in my drawer and I had no idea how to use them! Thanks so much for the inspiration and your photography is beautiful!

Sandeepa 8:00 AM  

I learn so much from your blog, never heard of these seeds either

Helen 10:32 AM  

Looks absolutely gorgeous! Familiar with wattleseed although I have never baked with it. Something else to get..woohoo!

Eva 11:03 AM  

Like everyone else obviously I'm very intrigued by those wattle seeds (only heard the name before and that was it) but also by this very unique cake. I never made such a no-butter-but-applesauce-cake before. Thanks for such a unique recipe!

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