Olive oil, rosemary and chocolate cake

Some habits never die. I have always loved birthdays, not only my own which I ensure is a month long festival each year, but I love celebrating others. And I firmly believe that every birthday deserves cake. So began the self nominated tradition of me baking for family, friends, and work colleagues every time a birthday came around.

Now that I am back at University it would seem I have brought this honor with me to Italy. Only this time I have 25 birthdays to cater for! With five already down I thought I better start posting my birthday bakes, I might be struggling to come up with something original by the 25th.


This cake was for Cate from Modena, hence the little nod to Italy. I was slightly skeptical about the amount of olive oil and rosemary which went into it but it was surprisingly balanced and makes a very aromatic cake. Happy Birthday Cate!

Olive oil, rosemary and chocolate cake

240ml extra virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for greasing
120g golden caster sugar
1½ tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
210g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1½ tsp baking-powder
180ml full-fat milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate (70 to 80% cocoa)
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 23 x 13cm loaf tin with parchment paper and grease with a little of the olive oil.

Place the golden caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rosemary, rubbing it with some of the sugar to help release its oil. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking-powder and ½ tsp salt. Whisk to combine.

Pour the olive oil and milk into a large measuring jug. Add the eggs, along with the vanilla and whisk thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the liquid. Mix gently until smooth.

Using a vegetable peeler, finely shave the chocolate into the cake batter, reserving a small portion to scatter over the top.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the remaining chocolate. Dust with the granulated sugar. Bake for 1 hour, until the cake seems firm. Once cooked, allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes in the tin before removing.