Lemonade is refreshing, yes, but lemon cake is memorable; especially this one. This lemon cake is NOT the syrup-y sweet kind that tastes like a lemon lollipop. This one is tart, blooming with hints of rosemary and the lightest, almost translucent, flavor of olive oil. The texture is exquisite. It’s full and solid, yet also soft and moist.
I’m in a lemon phase. Maybe it’s because it has been so cold and dark most of the month, and I am now basking in the warm weather here in sunny So. Cal, or maybe it’s because of the book I have just finished reading, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
Truthfully, I think it’s because I scored a whole bag of organic lemons for a good price at our local health-food store and have wanted to use them to the best of their ability.
This Lemon-Rosemary Olive Oil Cake is definitely the recipe to bring to this lemon party and I, gratefully, have Amanda’s Cookin’ blog to thank for this since that is where I scored this recipe. It’s drop dead delicious. Is that a saying? No? Then it’s knock your socks off fabulous!
The minute our book club email went out with a time and place for our gathering, my hand was raised high in the air, like a child in school almost jumping out of her seat, volunteering to bring lemon cake. Since I am obsessed with lemons right now, the pile was sitting perkily on my counter and I kept imagining a savory style of lemon cake, one that would not scream sweet but would flirt unabashedly with it. This cake hits that craving right on the mark, and I am not the only one who thinks so.
It was a BIG hit at my book club meeting. The ooohs and aaahs were reminiscent of that famous scene in “When Harry Met Sally” and, long story short, there was also a trial version of the same cake sitting in my mother’s kitchen, being served to more oohs and aaahs to her guests as well.
I can safely tell you that this cake will make your day and stealing Leah’s vernacular from The Seven Hills Collection—”will change your life”. Who knew a lemon cake could change your life?! But it will… I promise. Scout’s honor and everything.
Lemon Rosemary Cake
Taken from Amanda’s Cookin’
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour LOOSELY scooped or ideally weighing 13.5 oz.
1 T. very finely chopped FRESH rosemary
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. buttermilk (her recipe calls for low-fat milk so that would be fine as well)
2 t. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. juice from a lemon (about 1 -2 lemons)
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 t. lemon extract (if you don’t have it, add an extra 1/2 t. of the lemon zest)
2 c. powdered sugar
4 0z of cream cheese
2 T. lemon juice
1/8 t. lemon extract (if you don’t have it, just leave it out)
2-3 T. milk, depending on how thin you want your glaze. If you want a frosting, then add 1/4 c. butter instead of milk and only thin it out with milk as needed. Click on Amanda’s Cooking blog above for a picture of a frosted cake as opposed to mine which has glaze drizzled over it.
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a tube-pan or bundt cake pan amply with cooking spray. I like to hold my pan over the sink and spray from about 6 inches away so it doesn’t all land in a puddle in one area of the pan.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour through baking soda. In the bowl of stand mixer, put in the sugar, oil, lemon juice, zest and milk and mix on medium for a few seconds. Add the extracts and the eggs and beat again on medium for about 30 seconds or until well mixed.
Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat on low speed to incorporate. Then dump in the last half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.
Pour your batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and the cake is just lightly firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove it from the cake pan by placing a cooling rack on the top of the cake and flipping it over, using oven mitts if necessary. Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes more and prepare the icing.
For the icing, beat the lemon juice and powdered sugar on medium then high speed of a stand mixer or hand beater. The consistency should be a thick drizzle-able icing. Pour your icing into a liquid measuring cup so you can drizzle over the cake back and forth. Amanda frosted hers on top only and this looks gorgeous so take a look at her site and decide which way you want to go with the icing.
Garnish with lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Please serve with coffee…it’s just so perfect this way and then ooh and ahh, even if you are by yourself.