Rosemary belongs in sweet settings just as it does with roasted veg and bold meats. I tell you where rosemary doesn’t belong — it’s water. I once went to this “plant-based”, “healthy” (and overpriced) cafe that tried to be clever and instead of serving water out of jugs with lemons, mint or even cucumber — it’s sitting there with rosemary. Rosemary-infused water is not nice, there’s a reason why it’s not a thing. I don’t like these cafes. I don’t like that they try to be clever with their waters. I don’t like that they use their vegan “milks” to justify £4 cappuccinos. I don’t like that they serve me “bowl food” filled with grains and vegetables that’s essentially my go-to 15-minute cheap lazy weeknight meal and they serve it to me like some revolutionary diet-friendly food with a hefty price tag.
And I don’t like their stodgy gluten-free and vegan cakes. No. I like my butter-and-egg-rich fluffy and moist wheat flour cakes like this one.
These places take it a bit too far sometimes. They unfortunately have created the association between vegan/healthy and obnoxious/overpriced. I know you’re just as upset as I am, but let’s calm ourselves down with a wonderful cake that won’t appear in these detox cafes anytime soon. This is truly a wonderful cake. It’s so moist and fluffy – there are a lot of eggs in there and the butter and sugar are whipped in the beginning for aeration. The flavors also work very well, and I really really like rosemary in desserts, especially with chocolate or caramel. Its earthiness works well with strong flavors like nutty tahini and adds a punch to an otherwise sweet but tame dessert. It’s too sweet otherwise, the rosemary is needed for a contrast in flavor.
Makes one 20cm bundt cake
Recipe adapted from Kendall Vanderslice
85g butter, room temperature
4 medium eggs
120g plain sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 heaped tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
70g honey, floral variety if possible
3 rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and flour the cake tin.
Put the butter and sugar in a stand mixer and whip on high speed for about 10 minutes until pale and fluffy. Alternatively beat with hand mixers for a bit longer.
Beat in the eggs, one by one, incorporate each one in before adding the next. The mix might split but it’s okay.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary together in a bowl. And mix the honey, tahini and milk together in a different bowl.
On low speed, add half the flour, incorporate it well before adding half the liquid mixture. Once incorporated repeat with the rest of dry and wet ingredients.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until when a skewer inserted in comes out clean.
Leave to cool before putting on the topping
Put the rosemary sprigs in a pan of cold water. Bring it to a boil. Drain and repeat this process two more times.
With the rosemary still wet, roll them in a plate of sugar and leave to dry on a cooling rack.
Toast the sesame in a pan until golden brown. In a separate pan, bring 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a boil. When the sugar is all dissolved keep boiling it until it becomes thick and syrupy then add the sesame seeds.
Pour mixture over the cooled cake and top with rosemary sprigs.