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Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Chocolate and Lemon

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Chocolate and Lemon


10″ springform pan. You can use a regular cake pan but the springform pan really helps cakes from getting soggy as they cool, plus they’re easier to clean.


Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 3 oz / 80g spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 cups / 7.5 oz / 210 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup / 4 oz / 115g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Wet ingredients:


  • 1-2 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary for garnish, separated into single leaves . If using fresh, discard the big leathery ones and go for the smaller, sticky ones. If you're picking from your plant use the tips, they're the best!
  • 5 oz. / 140 g bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chunky chopped
  • Zest of 2 medium or 1 large Meyer or regular Lemon, chopped but not minced
  • 2 tbsp. sugar for a crunchy top


Preheat the oven to 350. Rub pan with olive oil. 

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly, add olive oils and milk and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in chocolate and half of the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle with the other half of the lemon zest and rosemary leaves so there is a little bit all over the cake. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top of the batter now, before putting the cake into the oven. At the end of baking you will finish the cake by putting it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, which will caramelize and harden the sugar, coating the lemon zest and rosemary leaves, making a lemony glaze that sends the cake over the top. 

Check the cake at 45 minutes. It may be done or may need 5 or so more minutes; you want the top domed and golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center to come out clean. When done baking, finish it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Do not walk away from the cake while it is under the broiler! FYI: if you do burn it, the cake can be salvaged by cutting off the burned top, flipping the cake over and covering it with a lemon icing. It will be both edible and presentable to your forgiving family and close friends. The burnt portion will not impart flavor to the cake if you cut it off within a few minutes.

If you’re using the springform pan, take the side off as soon as you can and place on a wire rack to cool. If you remove the bottom within five or so minutes, and cool the cake on a wire rack it will not have time to get soggy by being in contact with a hot pan.


The beauty of an olive oil cake is it does not need refrigeration—unless it’s 90+ degrees in your house. Olive oil is a natural preservative, so just pop a glass cake dome over it (or a large bowl) and leave it on the counter. In most houses cake doesn’t last long, and even if it's a bit crunchy on the 3rd day it’s better than wrapping it in plastic and contributing to the plastic island in the middle of the ocean. Serves 8 -12.

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson and Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.