03 June 2012

Sage Cake

File this in the What To Do With All Those Herbs category. I'm always buying herbs and then - unless it's parsley - struggling to figure out what to do with the last of it. Lots of rosemary? You can only eat so many roasted potatoes. So I always use my remainder rosemary to make this Rosemary Remembrance Cake.

Not to mention, I have a penchant for savory/sweet cross over applications - like rosemary in a cake or a creme brûlée, salt on my watermelon, balsamic vinegar on vanilla ice cream, etc.

Along those same lines I had an excess of sage. In the spring, no less, and I usually can't figure out what to do with sage when I don't have any winter squashes around. But now I have this - Rustic Sage Cake.

I have made it twice now (which means I have eight eggs whites in the freezer; if I make this cake one more time, I'll have enough discarded egg whites to make an angel food cake! Can I make an angel food cake with frozen egg whites? Hmmm...) and I can confirm that it is both easy to make and delicious.

You can use olive oil or butter for this - I've only tried the olive oil method. The butter would be better for sourcing local (Shatto!). But I also enjoy the idea (and taste) of olive oil in a cake.

The source for this recipe recommends ice cream as a companion which I'm sure is delicious, but at Sergio's suggestion, we ate ours with drizzles of honey. Very nice indeed.

Rustic Sage Cake
Adapted from this recipe at How Stuff Works
Helpful Tip: Since this recipe calls for egg yolks only, freeze the individual whites in an ice cube tray, then transfer them to a Ziploc bag for easy storage. Next time you want to make a recipe that calls for whites you’ll already have some on hand!
  • 14 fresh sage leaves (7 large leaves for steeping and 7 baby leaves for decoration)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round, springform cake pan with PAM or another baking spray.
In small saucer combine the milk and 7 large sage leaves, torn into thirds. Warm over medium heat until the milk is very hot. Set aside to steep for 15 minutes.
While the milk is steeping, sift the cake flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, mixing well with a whisk.
In a small bowl combine the yolks, sugar, olive oil and vanilla.
Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve, then add half of the milk, and the yolk mixture, to the bowl with the cake flour, stirring to combine. Add the remaining milk, mixing well.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and decoratively arrange seven small sage leaves on top of the batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is lightly golden and starts to pull away from the edges of the pan.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream if you like.

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