I’ve had this recipe for awhile now, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not much of a baker. I’m not sure why, but I know that I enjoy cooking quite a bit more than baking. I think that with baked goods, I always fear that they will sit around my house and I will eat every last morsel (and consequently turn into a pumpkin). So, needless to say, I only bake when I have someone to inherit my baked goods. Last week, when our friends Laura and Jarron invited us over for dinner – I finally had my excuse to make this cake (and ensure that it would be shared and eaten by people other than myself).
While the ingredient list may seem odd to some, I was really excited about the prospect of using rosemary in a cake. I’ve baked desserts with olive oil plenty of times in the past, but I had never used rosemary in a dessert. Seeing that it is my favorite flavor in the whole world, I figured that using it in a cake would be a very wonderful thing. And, alas – it was. This is the perfect dessert for those who don’t have a sweet tooth (ahem: my husband, who doesn’t really like sweet things at all). The rosemary adds a subtle earthiness, while the vanilla and lemon give the cake a delicate sweetness and brightness. The original recipe did not call for lemon zest, but I think the lemon is what made the cake a truly special dessert. It was just so simple, and so good. I highly recommend that you try it!
Olive Oil Rosemary Cake
adapted from The Babbo Cookbook by Mario Batali
makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar, plus an additional spoonful for topping
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality olive oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl Lemon zest
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 1 sprig for topping
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (I cooked mine at 350 as my oven tends to be a little funny). Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together for several minutes, until pale and foamy. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the vanilla, then gently fold in the chopped rosemary and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle delicately with the reserved spoonful of sugar, covering the surface with a light dusting. Place the reserved rosemary sprig gently on the top (it will sink in as the batter rises around it, so no need to push it down). Bake 45 minutes, until the cake is light golden and a tester comes out clean.