07 October 2010

Rosemary Remembrance Cake

Rosemary for Remembrance

This is an all time favorite of mine. The first time I made it I thought rosemary in a cake was strange. Now, I have made it so often and love it so much, that when I simply smell rosemary, at the farmers market, I immediately think of this cake. Not roasted potatoes or some savory application of the herb, but rather this sweet and sugar-coated cake.

I don't make it without occasion because it's big and I could eat the whole thing myself - but shouldn't. So while Julia's grandparents were visiting and lots of family were over at our place - and since I'd gotten a nice batch of rosemary in our CSA share - I decided to make this last week.

This was my best one yet. Usually I make it with whole wheat flour because that's often all that I have around. But for this one I used local Heartland Mills unbleached, unenriched all purpose flour. And I have to tell you that while there is nothing truly wrong with the whole wheat version, there is definitely something very right about the white flour version. This cake had perfect pound cake density and the crack along the top was just right. It rose well in the oven and each slice held together beautifully.

from Nigella Lawson's Feast
makes approximately 10 slices

1 eating apple (approx. 6oz in weight)
1 small sprig and 2 medium-long sprigs of rosemary (you could just use one long sprig - but I always use two)
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon butter

2 sticks butter
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Peel, core, and roughly chop the apple and put into a saucepan with the small sprig of rosemary, the teaspoon of sugar, the lemon zest and juice, and butter. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 4-8 minutes until the apple is soft. How long this takes really depends on the variety of apple you're using. Leave to cook, and fish out the rosemary sprig when it is cold.

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 1 lb loaf pan with a loaf liner, or butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Put the cooled apple into a food processor and blitz to a pulp. Then add the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and baking powder and process to a smooth batter. Spoon and scrape into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and then lay the long sprig(s) of rosemary along the center of the cake. On baking, the rosemary sheds its oil to leave a scented path down the middle of the cake.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean, then leave to cool on a rack. Slip the paper-lined cake out of the pan once it is cool.

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