Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rosemary and Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

For the longest time I’ve been mixing, beating, creaming and aerating cakes, cookie batters and egg whites with an electronic handheld whisk. It’s been with me since my parents bought it for me and has tagged along in the 13 places I’ve called home over the years. When it’s not busy whisking, its bottom can be detached to function as a food processor or a blender (though I sadly lost that part in Montreal).

Though my mixer has served me well, I’ve spent many hours on my laptop yearning for KitchenAid mixers. I’ve also hung out at The Bay for much longer than socially acceptable admiring the rows of mixers that light up the kitchen department as if they were trophies.  I’ve swooned over the limited edition satin copper mixer at Williams-Sonoma, a spotlight directly over it, casting a magical aura over it.

Then, as if Santa missed the deadline, a KitchenAid mixer arrived at my doorstep. I was still asleep but roused awake when my mom, confused, repeated to the deliver boy: we didn’t order it, I didn’t order it! Turns out a good friend of mine generously bought it for me and had it sent to my door. I wish I could tell you I tore open the box like a grizzly bear on Ritalin, but I didn’t. Instead, I waited 11 hours later to rip through the packing tape and cardboard, I swear bells and angels sang as I lifted the mixer from its styrofoam shell and placed it carefully on the corner of my kitchen counter beside the rice cooker. It’s a thing of beauty and a lovely addition to my baking arsenal (move aside handheld mixer!)

I would totally spoon it to sleep, take it everywhere I go like a security blanket, and take it out to parties, but I don’t think its what normal people do. I do however, look forward to many years of mixing, pouring and quicker clean-ups with my brand-spanking new mixer, knowing that there will be plenty of breads and desserts (maybe I’ll successfully master macarons) to whip up in the very sweet future.

Take this cake for example, I don’t know what takes me so long to amble my way through my ridiculously long list of Must Make Now, but I’ve got to thank Heidi for this amazzzing creation. The cake is part herby, part sweet and a riddled with chunks of rich chocolate, in other words, nothing could go wrong.

With the recent plummeting temperatures, nothing beats the woodsy, rustic smell of rosemary and in combination with olive oil, it’s simply sensational. Not to mention that this cake is mostly whole grain (which is even better if you’re into that kinda thing). The best part are the crunchy granules of sugar and itty bitty bits of rosemary that you would think is overpowering, but rather, infuses a smoothing flavour in just the right amount. Trust me when I say you ought to make this. Like now. Stat. 1, 2, 3, GO!

Rosemary and Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Heidi Swanson who adapted it from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain 

As Heidi notes, you don’t need a specialty olive oil, I used the same olive oil that I use for cooking. Do use chocolate chunks not chocolate chips, the shards of chocolate really make a difference in amping up that rich flavour. I also cut down the sugar just a tad than the original recipe and it turned out perfectly.

Makes one 12 inch loaf

Dry ingredients
1 cup oat flour
¾ cup spelt flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt 

Wet ingredients
3 large eggs
1 cup olive oil
¾ cup whole milk (I used 2% and it turned out fine)

1½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces/140g bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped into ½ inch chunks
1 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 4½ x 13 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring any bits of grain or other ingredients left in the sifter back into the bowl. Set aside.

2. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in 2/3 of the chocolate.

3. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and run a fork along the length of the chocolate so that the batter envelops it just a bit. Sprinkle with the second sugar.

4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Just a few minutes before the cake is finished, set your oven under broil for a minute, this caramelizes the sugar on top and gives it a bit of a crunch. Stay by the oven for the full minute before taking it out, make sure it doesn’t burn. Allow to cool completely.

The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days.

Recipe here!

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