house renovations

rosemary & olive oil cake

27th May 2010


I tried putting off making this cake when I first spotted it on Heidi Swanson’s blog last week, but the intrigue and curiosity of rosemary and olive oil in a cake recipe was too much for me, so I had to give it a try. The reason I was reluctant in trying this is that I knew having a cake like this sitting in the house could be dangerous. And plus, I am not too big on chocolate. That’s my sister’s department!

The scent of this cake baking was worth it in itself, even before tasting.  Like Heidi says, “Incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary and dotted with big and small chocolate chunks.  It is one of those cakes that is distinctive and memorable in an understated way.  You can see the wheels turning in people’s minds as they are taking their first bite.  The rosemary is the wild card factor here, and it permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way, not at all overpowering.”

The original recipe was taken from ‘Good to Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours’ by Kim Boyce.  I had a sneak peak on Amazon and it is on its way to becoming a part of my cooking library.

We are undertaking house renovations at the moment, so I served this to the workers, and boy did it put a smile on everybody’s face!

I followed Heidi’s recipe.  She recommended using regular sugar, I only had brown sugar and the results were still great!  In all my enthusiasm, I did forget to put in the milk but managed to discreetly add it after the chocolate.  Thankfully it survived and all was okay with the finished product. Phew!

I love recipes where I need to go directly to the garden to pick at least one of the ingredients. The olive oil I used, was a present from our neighbours who have an olive orchard and press their own oil. Wonderful quality and intoxicating smell.  Perfect to use in making this cake.  The eggs are from our dear little chickens who just laid them this morning.

Here are a few before and after shots from the house renovations.

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rosemary & olive oil cake

Serves 8 – 12 

Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Olive oil for the pan

dry ingredients

¾ cup/80g spelt flour

1 ½ cups/210g all-purpose flour

¾ cup/115g sugar

1½ tsp baking powder

1½ tsp salt

wet ingredients

3 eggs or 3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp ground flax + ½ cup water – mix and allow to sit 15 minutes)

1 cup/240ml olive oil

¾ cup/180ml whole milk

1½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

140g bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cocoa), chopped into ½ inch pieces

2 Tbsp sugar, for top crunch


1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.  Grease a 9½-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil or a long 13-inch loaf pan.

2.  Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring any bits of grain or other ingredients left in the sifter back into the bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In another large bowl, whisk the eggs/flax eggs thoroughly, add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again.

4.  Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined, then stir in  of the chocolate.

5.  Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top, then sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and run a fork along the length of the chocolate so that the batter envelops it just a bit.  Sprinkle with the second sugar.

6.  Bake for about 40 mins, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer comes out clean. My cake, in the loaf pan, took closer to 50 minutes.

The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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