Rosemary Olive Oil Cake Recipe
Last week was a bit of a whirlwind. I spent a good chunk of it in Monterey at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sustainable Foods Institute (part of their annual Cooking for Solutions event) listening to speakers and panelists. It was intensive and eye-opening, and I'll try to compile a list of some of the individuals I met, as well as a few of the inspired companies we heard from for a future post. I drove back into San Francisco just in time to get a cake in the oven for a potluck and meet-up with Kim Boyce at 18 Reasons. I was excited - everyone attending the potluck was to make something from Good to the Grain, I was finally going to meet Kim in person, and I had all the ingredients on hand to make what would turn out to be a beautiful Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.
Just look at it. Incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted with big and small chocolate chunks, I'd make this again in a heartbeat. It's 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. Also, it couldn't be easier to make. It took me less than ten minutes to get it in the oven.
I made a few minor tweaks to Kim's original recipe, and you can see them integrated into the recipe below - most are stylistic more than anything. And I converted the recipe to weights for some of you. I wanted to bake it in a vintage batton cake pan I brought back from Portland a few weeks back (my $1 pan!), and aside from a slightly longer baking time, that was no problem. I also decided I wanted more chocolate visible on top, and a bit of a sugary top crust.
The potluck was fun. I'm not sure I've ever tasted more baked goods in a single sitting. Twenty+ people turned out, all with something to share. The walk home needed to be 5x as far. The surprise of the night for me? The Honey Hazelnut Cookies (thank you Rosie!). They're brown, and flat, and wafer-like - not particularly interesting at a glance. Easy to look over. But the flavor they pack into each bite is unbelievable - toasted hazelnuts, amaranth flour, honey, butter. For those of you already with the book, they jumped to the top of my "next" list.
I hope you all had a nice weekend, give the cake a go the next time you need a sweet treat for a group of friends, they'll enjoy it. And on a separate note, I think we may have settled on a cover design for my new book, so I'll try to share that with you soon as well :). -h
Related Links: Luisa's (The Wednesday Chef) post on the Olive Oil Cake - Luisa was Kim's editor on Good to the Grain. And, in case you missed it, Sam Fromartz's Washington Post article - Bakers are taking grains in new directions Also, for those of you who are local, Kim will be selling/signing books at Omnivore Books on Monday, May 24, as well as the Castro Farmers Market on Wednesday, May 26 (more info/links here).
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
As Kim notes,you don't need to use a specialty olive oil for this cake. But if you have one with a lot of flavor, the cake will be that much better. This is one of those recipes where I think using regular sugar is the way to go. There was plenty going on with the interplay between the rosemary, chocolate, and olive oil - and I'm not sure adding less refined brown or Muscovado sugar would have been the way to go. The last note I'll make is to suggest chopping up a chocolate bar for this. It's just not going to be the same if you use uniform chocolate chips. Aim for big chunks 1/2-inch in diameter, you'll end up with all sorts of shavings and littler pieces as you are chopping, and having that mix of flecks and the big chunks is pretty great.
Olive oil for the pan
3/4 cup / 3 oz / 80g spelt flour
1 1/2 cups / 7.5 oz / 210 g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 240 ml olive oil
3/4 cup / 180 ml whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces / 140 g bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar for top crunch
Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C. Rub a 9 1/2-inch (24 cm) fluted tart pan with olive oil. Alternately, I used a long (4 1/2 x 13 inch) loaf pan, and lined it with parchment paper.
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.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in 2/3 of the chocolate. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. 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.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. My cake, in the alternate pan, took closer to 50 minutes. Also, just when my cake was nearly finished baking, I decided I wanted a bit more color on top. I finished it under the broiler for a minute - which caramelized the sugar on top as well and gave it a bit of crunch. Don't walk away from the cake while it is under the broiler.
The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days.
Serves 8 -12.
Recipe adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.
Prep time: 15 min - Cook time: 45 min