As someone that cooks for every occasion, I thought that today would be fitting to take a Rosemary Loaf cake in that it is Anzac Day. For those who have never heard of it, the Wikipedia link I've given will tell you a bit about it. In Australia we use sprigs of Rosemary as it's associated with remembrance and commemoration. Whether one is for or against war, is another matter, it's sad when people lose their lives and my instinct whenever dealing with any sort of sadness or grief is of course to bake.
Nigella's Rosemary loaf recipe was in remembrance for her maternal grandmother Rosemary. I've never really used rosemary for a sweet cake, only savouries such as roasted potatoes and lamb so I was intrigued to try this. Nigella has another slightly different recipe for this in Feast with grated apple but since I didn't have any apple at the time, I made this one. She does suggest serving this with stewed sweetened apples. It's similar to a Madeira cake but with an exoticness from the rosemary. And don't skimp on the sugar crusted top, try and get the sugar up the the sides as it gives such a delicious crust. Trust me on this.
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Rosemary Loaf cake
- 250 g soft unsalted butter
- 200 g golden caster sugar (I used regular caster sugar)
- 3 large eggs
- 210 g self raising flour
- 90g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- needles from a 10cm stalk of rosemary chopped small, but not too fine (about 2 teaspoons)
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1-2 tablespoons rosemary sugar or caster sugar
- 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and lined
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3
Step 2 - Now cream the butter, adding the sugar when it's really soft, and creaming both together till pale and smooth and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, folding in a spoonful of the flour after each addition, then add the vanilla. Fold in the rest of the flour - I find a rubber spatula the best tool for the job - and finally add the rosemary.
Step 3 - Thin the batter with the milk - you're after a soft, dropping consistency - and pour, with some helpful prodding and scraping with your spatula, into the waiting tin. Sprinkle the top with a little sugar before putting it in the oven, and cook for 1 hour, or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
Step 4 - Leave to cool on a wire rack in its tin, and when completely cold, unmould and wrap well in foil till you need to eat it. Like all these sorts of cakes, it keeps well.
From How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson