This lemon rosemary olive oil cake is bright, earthy, and not too sweet. It takes just minutes to get in the oven and will stay moist for days.
The chances are that you use olive oil in your everyday cooking. But have you tried it for baking? It may sound unusual, but baking with olive oil is common in countries such as Spain, where there is a fresh and flavorful supply of olives.
Olive oil helps to make baked goods, especially cakes, moister and more tender. It also adds some interesting flavor notes. Of course, you want to use an olive oil whose flavor you like. I don't suggest using a cheap oil or one that has a strong peppery flavor. Either could overwhelm your baking. The idea is that you only want a hint of the oil that will complement the other flavors you include.
If you've ever gone to one of those shops where you can taste oils and vinegars, you know how much one olive oil can differ from another. Before you bake with the oil you have at home, you'll want to give it a taste on its own first, which you may have never done.
Just put a little oil on a spoon and give it a try. If you enjoy what you taste, great. If not, I'd wait until you can get another bottle before using it in baking. There are so many olive oils out there, and we all have different taste preferences, it's impossible to recommend one particular brand to you. I can say that the olive oil I most commonly buy is Spectrum's organic extra virgin Mediterranean olive oil. It's a little fruity with just a hint of pepper.
Another benefit of baking with olive oil is that it keeps your baked goods fresher for longer. Because it adds moistness, when I use olive oil in baking, it seems to help keep things fresh for three or four days. Often things dry out and harden up after a couple of days, but that's not the case with this cake. Also worth noting is that compared to butter, olive oil has less saturated fat, and many people consider it a healthier alternative. Then again, maybe don't eat cake if you're that worried about being healthy.
Olive oil won’t work in all instances of baking, whether because of the flavor or because of the technique. If you have a recipe that requires creaming butter and sugar, don’t try to use oil instead. It won’t work. But if you want to give it a try for the first time, a good place to start is with recipes that already use oil. Just replace the same amount of olive oil for the oil in the recipe. If you’re looking to use olive oil in place of butter, replace it at a 3:4 ratio. In other words, if it says you need a cup of butter, use ¾ cup of oil in its place.
With this cake, I not only used olive oil, but I also added in another unexpected ingredient: rosemary. I managed to keep my rosemary plant mostly alive in a cold frame in my backyard this winter, and I had a sprig already on the counter in need of a good use. Between the olive oil and rosemary and the freshness of the lemon zest and juice, this cake is more complex and less sweet than others. Of course, if you add the lemon glaze on top, that will add sweetness, for sure. Though even then, the lemon helps cut that too.
Make this lemon rosemary olive oil cake when you want something fresh and unexpected. It works well as a snack, dessert, or even served at brunch.
Looking for more citrus recipes. Try these:Print