One of my favourite food bloggers and creative people around is Heidi Swanson, the brains behind 101 Cookbooks and founder of Quitokeeto. I have been following Heidi for a long time and I just love the minimalist look of both the blog and her photos. They are both examples of the saying that simple is best, which I totally am a fan of. As it happens, she together with a handful of other excellent bloggers, gave me that much needed nudge to start my own blog. I don’t know them but I still consider them to be my mentors. They truly show us how it’s done.
For me, there’s nothing better than having some quiet time to browse recipes. I have collected quite a number of cookbooks over these past five years, but whether online or on paper, I’m always happy when I come across a good one. The combination of sweet and savoury here makes this cake so appealing to me. Please note the use of salt in this recipe. I’m glad I added it here – the cake just needs it.
A few years back, during the same year I started running C&T, I made a rosemary cake from Nigella’s book How to Be a Domestic Goddess. It was basically a plain Madeira cake with dried rosemary added in the mixture. It wasn’t exactly J’s cup of tea but I loved it, served warm with a little drizzle of honey. I remember the taste very well and since then I wanted to incorporate herbs in my baking, but I just couldn’t find the right recipe.
Then I came across this a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to make it immediately. Call me crazy but I bought a long loaf tin just for this recipe, but I know I will get a lot of use out of it anyway. And I just prefer loaf cakes because, somehow for me, they are just easier. Easier to cut, easier to serve.
It is delightfully old-fashioned, rustic and modern at the same time. Apart from the fact that I love olive oil in cakes. (Please note that I have used the dried herb simply because for me it is easier to source and have to hand. I must grow some in pots though.)
I can honestly say that it was devoured in no time at all and is now solidly bookmarked in my notes forever. Thank you Heidi for sharing it with us.
- 80g spelt flour
- 210g plain flour
- 115g sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon coarse salt, crushed
- 3 large eggs
- 240ml regular olive oil
- 180ml milk
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 140g dark chocolate, cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line preferably a long loaf tin (4 ½ x 13 inches) with baking paper.
In a large bowl sift the dry ingredients, but make sure to tip in any pieces of grain left in the sifter back into the bowl.
Whisk the eggs in another large bowl, and add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk everything together.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the eggy mixture, then slowly stir in 2/3 of the amount of the dark chocolate chunks. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the last 1/3 of the chocolate, pressing the chunks very very gently into the surface of the cake, half way down. Sprinkle the top of the cake batter with the demerara sugar. This will give you that lovely extra crunch.
Bake the cake for around 40-50 minutes, until the top turns golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove and leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Although it is delicious when still warm. When cooled and tightly wrapped in cling film, this cake will keep for 2-3 days.
I don’t believe it will last that long though.
(Recipe very slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks, and from Kim Boyce.)
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