Working in the kitchens of Casa San Carlo was a turning point for me on my journey of figuring out what to do in my life. I knew I really want to work with food in some way. To share that love and flavor with others. It was time to stop with the travel blog I had been working on for a year and move back into food.
On one of our many spring rainy days in Italy, I spent the day in the kitchen playing with the flavors of Italy. Oranges, olive oil and beautiful stems of fragrant rosemary, foraged from the gardens of Casa San Carlo, found their way into a beautiful Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.
This rainy day was also an experimental day. I lacked baking powder. After some research online, I ran across Create Savv’s post for substituting a combination of baking soda and vinegar for baking powder. Visions of cake batter exploding in the oven came to mind as I remembered the effects of combining baking soda and vinegar from my fourth grade science fair project.
I quickly read through her post to see her reasoning and came away convinced it was the perfect way to go. Plus, it’s a more natural way to get your cakes to rise without the metallic taste of baking powder. I hated chemistry in school but completely love it in the kitchen. Maybe I can make the suggestion to changing boring chemistry classes to fun cooking projects. I know I would have paid attention more if I hadn’t been trying to stay awake. And it’s not like I’ve ever really needed to know the Periodic Table in the real world.
I love cooking, so cooking on a rainy day is the perfect thing to keep me occupied from thinking about the scarlet poppies blooming the fields down the road. I really wanted to photograph them. But the rain kept coming, with peeks of sunshine occasionally to tease me, before grey clouds sailed back in and drops started falling.
I love the simplicity of this cake. It’s warm, fresh and even better when you can stop yourself from eating it the day you made it. As it sits, overnight, the flavors mingle and meld into a beautiful symphony of flavors. It’s also not overly sweet, so works well for dessert or for eating with a cup of coffee or tea.
Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Hints of citrus and rosemary pair well in this refreshing easy to make olive oil cake.
1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary***
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease bottom and sides a loaf baking pan with olive oil and dust lightly with flour.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the granulated sugar and honey. Add the orange juice, olive oil and vinegar.
Do not add the flour mixture until you are ready to bake. Combining the baking soda and vinegar too soon and allowing to sit will cause the cake to fall. Whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not oven cook or cake will be dry.
Let the cake cool completely before removing from pan. Serve as is or dust with confectioner’s sugar.
*If using smaller pans, adjust cooking time accordingly.
**Recipe is interchangeable with lemon, lime or grapefruit
***Cake is made easily by hand using a whisk. No need for a mixer.
****Rosemary can be left out if not preferred or switched for another herb.
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