Tasty AND dairy-free
I generally pride myself on the fact I can come up with a dish for any occasion. So when a friend asked me to bring a dairy-free dessert to cap off our meal together, I thought “no sweat! Give me a real challenge!”. I obviously had no idea just how much dairy I use on a daily basis. I scoured my books – always a bit of cream, a smidge of butter. Oh dear, am I going to fail? This was no good! The only thing I could come up with was Sabayon over berries – one of my all-time favorite desserts – but its transportability is nil. And I’m quite sorry, but berries sans Sabayon are not a dessert in my book.
I finally remembered an olive oil cake I made a few years ago. Spiked with rosemary, it was…different. But in a complex “adult” way. The only thing bad about it was that it was a touch dry. Something a little dairy could probably help fix. But alas, not today.
So I dusted off the recipe and whipped up a batch. Thinking that it would somehow benefit from a Meyer Lemon glaze, I threw that over top while it was cooling.
The taste of the cake is very interesting. A mild olive oil flavor shot through with the piney tinge of fresh Rosemary. Make sure to use an olive oil you like the flavor of. I had two in the pantry. The cheap one was fruity with no strange aftertastes. The expensive one was more complex, but had a peppery bite at the end. Definitely NOT cake material! And it’s pricey, so my pocketbook is glad it got the boot.
As I said before, this cake turns out pretty dry. BUT it makes outstanding breakfast bread. Toast it, slather it with Lurpak (or your favorite European butter) and have Jeeves serve it with your morning tea. Your IQ will immediately shoot up 10 points.
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Meyer Lemon Glaze
Cake courtesy of Babbo Cookbook – Mario Batali
Serves 8 – 10
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For glaze (I’ll be completely honest here, I have no clue what I did for the glaze. But this one seems kinda right. I think I only did half a recipe though.)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Spray a 10-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Using the whip attachment, beat the eggs in a mixer 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.
- 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 to 50 minutes. 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. Glaze while still hot.
WHILST THE CAKE IS BAKING, make the glaze
- In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and granulated sugar, then whisk in the confectioners sugar until the glaze is smooth.
- Strain any lumps as necessary.
- Pour glaze over hot cake.