Sunday, August 15, 2010

Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary Cake

What do you make for dessert to eat with champagne?  And what do you make for dessert for two people?  Chocolate-covered strawberries would be fantastic, but it just seems a little indulgent.  Somehow olive oil cake seems more appropriate.  I'm not sure that makes sense, but it made sense in my head.  You know how those things go.  Plus I have been meaning to try some of the other recipes for olive oil cake that I found the last time I decided to make an olive oil cake.  We didn't have oranges on hand to make the olive oil cake from Molto Italiano, but we had everything we needed to make the olive oil cake from The Babbo Cookbook.  I tried to find a gelato or ice cream that I thought would pair well with a rosemary olive oil cake, but somehow all I could find was Tahitian vanilla.  In The Babbo Cookbook Mario Batali says they serve this cake with braised fresh figs and a raspberry sorbet, but I found neither.  And to be honest, I didn't want either, although I thought that I might be able to find Ciao Bello's blackberry cabernet sorbet and that sounded like a fabulous pairing for my cake, but Zabar's didn't have that this time either.  I briefly considered serving it with strawberries and homemade whipped cream, but then decided to just go with the vanilla gelato.

This olive oil cake isn't as moist as I thought it would be.  Instead it is crumbly and only slightly sweet (which I did expect).  And it is bordering on dry in that way that some Italian desserts and breads are.  So I guess I should have expected that, although the Almondy Citrusy Olive Oil Cake I made previously was a little more moist.  The flavor of the rosemary is fairly subtle, but the olive oil comes through very nicely.  I think this cake would make a great mid-afternoon snack with a cup of tea, or a very nice breakfast (which is how I had it this morning).  Since it isn't that sweet it doesn't have to be dessert.  I actually preferred the cake for breakfast, toasted, and smeared with Tiptree Orange Marmalade, rather than as dessert with vanilla gelato, but that's just me.
Recipe after the jump!

Olive Oil and Fresh Rosemary Cake
The Babbo Cookbook
By Mario Batali

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup evoo
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 10-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

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 evoo.  Using a spatula, gently fold the rosemary into the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 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.

Bake for 45-50 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 back clean.  Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan, then tip out onto a cake rack to continue cooling.

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