Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

When Life Gives You Lemons—Make Lemon Rosemary Cake!


I apologize for the re-runs, and I do have some delectable Chocolate Malt Cupcakes sitting in my fridge waiting patiently for their photo shoot, but sometimes life just comes first. So enjoy this one until they get their time in the spotlight. Take care!

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 had been so cold last 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 found 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 say that it would please any guest at your table and is actually quite easy to make so pucker up and enjoy.

And if this recipe didn’t hit your lemon-y craving quite well enough, please go to Sock Monkey’s site to see her gorgeous Meyer Lemon skillet cake. It is mouth watering to say the least, and I can’t wait to give it a go…very soon.

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)
3 eggs

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.

58 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons—Make Lemon Rosemary Cake!

  1. oh wow! I adore lemon with rosemary!! This is a beautifully delicious sounding recipe! =0)
    Don’t worry about the reblog – many of us probably didn’t see it the first time around, so this is a new one for us!

    PS: I think that we think alike – I’ve got a blog post called “When life gives you lemons, make lemon cake” too =0)

  2. I love citrus and the combo with rosemary is brilliant! The cake must be very delicious.

  3. This sounds fantastic, Geni. I love rosemary and lemon together anyway, and I’m just imagining how nice they’d be in this lovely cake. I know what you mean about reruns…had to do that myself for Easter post! Hope you had a lovely Easter.

  4. Reruns are good my friend, reminds me I need to stalk your blog more 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Looks yummy and light.

  6. Very sophisticated flavor combo for a cake. I’m excited to try!

  7. I’m so glad you’ve shared this (although I’ll be back for those cupcakes too)! I love book club, loved that book (the particular sadness of lemon cake) and would love to make this cake for my next book club:D xx

  8. You had me at “Lemon”! Love, love, love lemons!

  9. So many of Mom’s dishes utilized rosemary with lemon, Geni. Using those flavors in a cake sounds wonderful and seeing that lemony icing puddling atop the cake puts this over-the-top, in my book. When a recipe is this good, there is no need to apologize for posting it a 2nd time — or a third. 🙂

  10. That cake is a great way to use lemons!

  11. This looks great! I like the addition of rosemary. Thanks for sharing.


  12. Ooh, what a fabulous combo of flavours. Easy to see why it was such a hit.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. A great idea to combine hese two amazing flavours. I’ve only ever thought of combining lemon with summer fruits but will have to try this now!

  14. I too am on a lemon kick! It’s been unseasonably cold here in MI. This would have been perfect for Easter dessert. I’ll keep this recipe in mind for next family gathering. Hope all is well!

  15. I love lemon!! This cake is so beautiful!

  16. How you not like this post….. Its so yummy!!!!

  17. OMG honestly, no words. I love the lemon/rosemary combo. and nothing wrong with being in a lemon phase…I feel like I’m always stuck in that phase, ha! Wish I could be in your book club so I could have tried it. 🙂

  18. What a gorgeous cake!

  19. I need to get me some more lemons to make this cake. And I just gave away a bunch of lemons I had. Why did I do that. I can’t wait to try this out

  20. I hope all is well and we never mind re-runs! IN fact we love them because I forgot how much loved this the first time and now I MUST MAKE iT!

  21. I am so glad you loved this recipe as much as I did! What a wonderful review! And yours looks positively beautiful!

  22. I can’t wait to make this – I love lemon cake and I love rosemary, but I’ve never put the two together. Amazing! Thanks for (re)sharing 🙂

  23. Yes, somehow lemon and rosemary make a good combination…your cake looks awesome with the glaze all over…I just need a cup of tea to go with it…
    Thanks for this recipe Geni and hope you are having a great week 🙂

  24. An oldie but a goodie! I’m glad you reminded us of this! i love lemon and rosemary paried together.

  25. This cake looks bomb! YUM!!!! I just made some lemon scones…lemon is definitely in right now 😀

  26. That looks amazing! I love the pan you baked it in. 🙂 I am not much one for lemons or rosemary… but that does look great!

  27. I’ve been wanting to read that book for a long time. Now I think I need cake to go with it!

  28. Two of my absolute flavors-together. Making this, thanks!

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