Rosemary, you see, doesn't just complement hearty lamb dishes and fruity carrot and orange salads and tender potato focaccia. It's a versatile herb that can also be added to desserts, like this sweet rosemary loaf cake by the original domestic goddess. The recipe is from Nigella's book How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. I've played with the amount of flour - we do not use self-raising flour here in Estonia, so I've had to add baking powder to the recipe. We really enjoyed the cake, even if the idea of rosemary in sweet baking did sound curious in the beginning. But be not afraid - as Nigella herself says, 'there is something muskily aromatic about [rosemary] against the sweet vanilla egginess of the cake'. Exactly.
Nigella suggests you eat this with cold stewed apples. We spooned some softly whipped cream over sliced cake instead.
Nigella Lawson's Rosemary Loaf Cake
(Nigella Lawsoni rosmariinikeeks)
250 g soft butter
200 g caster sugar
3 large eggs
300 g plain/all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) milk
Preheat the oven to 170 C (325-350 F).
Mix flour, salt and baking powder.
Cream the butter until softened, add sugar and cream them both together until pale and smooth and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, folding in a spoonful of flour after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Fold in the rest of the flour and finally add the rosemary.
Thin the batter with the milk - you're aiming for a soft, dropping consistency.
Pour the batter into a buttered (or lined with parchment paper) 450 g loaf tin.
Cook for 60 minutes or a bit longer, until a cake-tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool in its tin on a wire rack. When completely cold, unmould and wrap well in foil until you need to eat it.
Keeps well for a few days.