What happens when rosemary has a heated affair with olive oil, flour, some sugar, and eggs? She has a wonderfully fragrant and delicious poundcake-like lovechild.
This rather tame story came straight from the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks – The Babbo Cookbook. In the introduction to this delightfully simple recipe, Mario Batali describes this cake as a “classic example of what Italians really eat in the late afternoon, perhaps with a glass of vin santo.” At the restaurant, Pastry Chef Gina DePalma serves this sturdy, but moist cake with braised figs and rosemary sorbet.
Not tied to the Italian tradition, I decided to add my own scandalous bedfellow to the plot: coconut-curry sorbet (See “you put the curry in the coconut…“). But, I’ll leave the seedy details of that story to the lusty pages of another post.
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 10-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the whip attachment to beat the eggs for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very foamy and pale in color. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Using a spatula, gently fold the rosemary into the batter.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk togeher the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even color. The cake is done when it is golden brown, springs back when touched, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan, then tip out onto a cake rack to continue cooling.
* Cook’s note: When you rotate the pan half-way through baking, the cake has a souffle-like look to it. Try to disturb the cake as little as possible in the rotation.