I promised so many people I would share this recipe. And they ask me so apologetically. As if I am safeguarding it like it's some kind of family secret. I will tell you that it is a bit of a finicky recipe. I've overbaked it and underbaked it and I've also shared the recipe with a chef who had no luck with it at all. By now though, I've made it so many times that it has become my go-to dessert. It's especially perfect after a heavier meal as it is light, refreshing, but full of flavor. Ask Carly about this cake and she will describe it as a religious experience.
To have success with the recipe, I would make the following recommendations:
- Use enough rosemary. I've made the mistake of holding back in fear that it would be too savory, but if you don't use enough, you just taste lemon and you don't get that lemon-rosemary-angels singing affect.
- Use cake flour. Don't substitute. I'm not kidding.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, especially the eggs. And I use organic eggs. Can't say for sure that it makes a difference in the quality of the cake, but it makes a difference to me.
- Fold ingredients carefully! Do not overbeat!
- Watch it carefully. There is a fine line between a cake with lemon pudding in the center and sponge. Use a cake tester and don't let it get too brown on top.
Lemon Olive Oil Rosemary Cake
based on an Epicurious recipe
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (lemon infused, if possible)
Juice and zest of one large lemon
1 cup cake flour
2 Tablespoons very finely chopped fresh rosemary
5 large organic eggs and room temperature (save one white for later use)
1 cup sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or oil 9 inch springform pan, line with parchment paper, then butter or oil again.
Whisk together cake flour, lemon zest and rosemary. Set aside.
Beat yolks with 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow (about 3 minutes).
Reduce speed and add olive oil gradually and lemon juice. Stir flour mixture in with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Beat egg whites (4) and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a second bowl at medium high speed until foamy. Then add 1/4 cup sugar gradually and beat until soft peaks form (about 3 minutes).
Gently fold 1/3 of whites into yolks, then fold remaining whites in gently but thoroughly.
Transfer to prepared pan, tapping sides to release air bubbles. Cover entire top of cake with remaining sugar (about 1/4 cup).
Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The original recipe says 45 minutes but that is way too long, at least for my oven! Again, you will need to watch and check it often.
Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the side of the springform pan. Remove bottom and parchment before serving.