Generally speaking, I'm not an impulse shopper. With the exception of a few areas in which I'm totally incapable of exhibiting any self-control (delicate gold bracelets, plane tickets to far away places and the magazine aisle of the grocery store chief among them), I'm careful, calculated and considered. But last Saturday as I was loading my greenmarket bags with bushels of berries, I spotted a small rosemary plant, and before I knew what was happening, I'd told the farmer I'd take it.
This is especially strange seeing as I am decidedly not a plant person. In fact, my history with houseplants is practically homicidal. I can dogsit and babysit with the best of them, but entrust me with something green and alive and I guarantee it will be shriveled and brown within a week. Which is of course the fate that befell my poor rosemary plant, a mere five days after I brought it home.
Thankfully, I made those five days count, and managed to harvest enough rosemary to make this cake. The subtly sweet olive oil cake is laced with fresh rosemary and studded with deep dark chocolate. It's an unexpected combination, but a surprisingly delicious one and the result is a weird and wonderful as it sounds. I think it would be perfect for brunch, or even served at an evening cocktail hour. Preferably one held amongst the plants and greenery--outside, where they belong.
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
Olive oil for the pan
3/4 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 350, and rub a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan with olive oil. (I used a loaf pan like Heidi because my tart pan was leaking.) Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary, and whisk again. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix with a spatula until just combined. Stir in 2/3 of the dark chocolate.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top. Run a fork over the top of the batter, so that the chocolate gets incorporated right beneath the cake's surface. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is golden and a tester inserted into its center comes out clean. (My loaf took closer to 50 minutes). The cake can be served warm or cool, and will keep tightly wrapped in plastic for up to two days.