Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Lemon
Lisa had been hankering for a Rosemary Olive Oil cake. While I was in Los
Angeles last week she made
this recipe. Seriously, My Girl is a chip off the old block. She was
born into a long-line of fabulous bakers (me not necessarily included, but Lisa's Grandmothers and my Grandmothers are/were exceedingly famous for their baking abilities).
It's in her blood. One bite of the recipe and she knew something was not
quite right. She asked what I thought. I thought: too much egg.
The recipe Lisa sampled called for four eggs. A quick Google search found that most
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake recipes call for four eggs. Lisa and I found the
cake too spongy. But none of the recipes called for the one
ingredient I knew would give the cake the perfect tender crumb Lisa's recipe
was lacking - buttermilk.
Buttermilk is magical. It is the whey left-over from churning cream into
butter. It gives any baked good a little lift, a tender bite and a little
tang. One cup was all I needed.
It is super-important that you use a very flavorful
extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe. We were just in Napa
so we had several quarts of Arbequina from
The Olive Press on hand. We use a lot of olive oil in this
house - I even use it on my skin - so maybe
we are a little fussy about the quality of the olive oil
we consume. I took an "olive oil tasting" class with
Paul Vossen at UC Davis several years ago and now
consider myself a total olive oil snob.
Shopping for olive oil is similar to shopping for wine,
except olive oil is often more expensive. Rules for
choosing a decent olive oil:
1. Must be from a single source - Spain, California,
Italy or Greece are common. Do not buy olive oil that is
a blend from two or three different countries,
especially if one of the countries is Tunisia. Look for
"Product of Italy", or "Product of California", etc., on
the bottle. One source!
2. Look for an expiration date. If the oil does not have
an expiration date - do not purchase.
3. Make sure it says Extra-Virgin.
Anything outside of these three rules could result in an
"olive" oil padded with other vegetable oils, chemicals,
and all sorts of fillers you do not want to consume.
Trust me. Other nice things to see on labels are "first cold pressed" or "cold pressed" -
and of course, organic. There are all sorts of other
designations - but if you follow these three basic rules, you
should be purchasing a quality olive oil product.
The three main flavors in this cake - olive oil,
rosemary and lemon - are each quite pronounced. Make
this cake the day/morning before and serve at room temperature
with fresh raspberries or strawberries. Whipped cream is
optional. (I also enjoy this cake unadorned, with no
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1 cup buttermilk
zest and juice one lemon (about 4 Tablespoons juice)
2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary (about two
plus more for garnish, if desired
Heat oven to 350°. Oil a 9-inch spring form pan.
Place spring form pan on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set
aside. Place eggs, sugar and olive oil in a large mixing
bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for two minutes, until
everything is well combined and fluffy. Add the
buttermilk, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Beat
in the flour mixture until just blended. Finally,
stir-in the minced rosemary until just combined. Pour
batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle a few dozen rosemary
leaves decoratively over the top of the batter, if
desired. Place spring form pan (on the baking sheet) in
the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or
until cake tester comes out clean. Remove to wire rack.
Let rest five minutes, then carefully release ring from side of
cake. Let cool completely. Leave spring form cake bottom
in place and set cake in a covered cake
plate. Best served the next day.
Until my next update, I remain, your baking correspondent.
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