Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Once in a while I decide to try a recipe simply because I have no idea what it will taste like. That's what happened this week. I was looking through recipes on Heidi Swanson's blog trying to find interesting vegetarian recipes (since about half my family are vegetarians, it's important for me to be comfortable cooking without meat), when this recipe caught my eye. A cake that combined chocolate, olive oil, and rosemary. I'd never encountered those flavors together, and felt instantly curious. The next grocery day, I loaded up on the necessary ingredients (a box of unsweetened bakers chocolate, spelt flour, and fresh rosemary).

The result was... amazing. And interesting. Despite the 3/4c of sugar, it isn't a very sweet cake. The flavor comes more from the combination of chocolate, rosemary, and olive oil... I have trouble describing the taste accurately. Except, don't think of the chocolate as something sweet but as bitter. Almost like coffee. It made the house smell wonderful and slightly exotic.

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks who in turn adapted it from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

3/4 c spelt flour
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3 eggs
1 c olive oil (yes, that much. It really does add to the flavor)
3/4 c milk
1 1/2 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (don't use chocolate chips, they'll be too sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Combine flours (I'm sure you could make this completely with all-purpose flour if you wanted, but I haven't tried yet so can't recommend any changes in proportions), sugar, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Mix it all together really well.
Add in eggs, olive oil, 3/4 c milk, and 5 chopped chocolate. If you want you can save some to sprinkle on top.
Mix everything together just until combined, then pour batter into a greased cake/loaf pan. I used my hand dandy... 9"? loaf pan, which also happens to be fairly deep. As always, use whatever you have that fits. Keep in mind, though, that the cake rises. Don't fill your pan more than 3/4 full, or you'll end up with a giant sticky, smelly mess to clean up out of the oven (I learned this the hard way. The house smelled like burnt sugar for 3 days). If you want to sprinkle some extra chocolate and sugar on top, now's the time to do so.
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife tip inserted in the center comes out clean. My pan is really deep, so it took a lot longer. Basically, just keep an eye on it. The cake should come out with a domed top and a light golden-brown color.

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