I love using herbs in both savoury and sweet recipes. This Rosemary Cake with Lemon is a great demonstration of how the addition of a herb can elevate a very easy and simple recipe. It is unusual but not in a scary way. The flavour of the rosemary is not overpowering but enhances the lemon-flavoured cake. I think it is a fantastic way of showcasing the flavour of this wonderful herb, with its warm, spicy flavour.
The use of fresh rosemary provides and unusual and delicious twist to this easy lemon-flavoured cake.
125 g butter
75 g caster sugar
175 g self-raising flour
4 tablespoons of milk
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (each about 10 cm long) plus a few additional sprigs to decorate, if required.
100 g icing sugar
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or use a paper loaf tin liner.
Cream the butter with the sugar. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
Add the milk and the grated zest of your lemon.
Remove the needle-like leaves from your sprigs of rosemary and chop finely. Put half of the chopped leaves (about 2 teaspoons) into the cake mixture. The other half should be reserved for use in the drizzle.
Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
While the cake is baking, put the juice from your lemon in a small bowl and add the reserved half of the chopped rosemary leaves. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. The idea is to heat the juice so that the rosemary releases its fragrance. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat the juice in a saucepan over a low heat on the stove.) Allow the juice containing the chopped rosemary leaves to cool slightly. Then combine it with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing. If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
You can decorate the cake with a few further sprigs of rosemary.
Keywords: lemon cake, rosemary cake, loaf cake
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These Candied Lemon and Lime Slices are a great way of decorating cakes, such as Lemon Drizzle Cake, and puddings. They look attractive – I love the fresh citrus colours – and also taste good and are very easy to make.
You can make these slices with all types of citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits or little kumquats, in addition to lemons and limes.
This easy Lemon Drizzle Cake is one of my favourite cake recipes. It is very simple and straight-forward and the resulting cake is a fantastic demonstration of how home-made cakes are better than shop-bought cakes. It is just a lemon-flavoured sponge but, freshly-made with zingy lemon and real butter and eggs, it is real treat.
I have decorated my cake with Candied Lemon Slices but it tastes just as good just with the drizzle!
This recipe is based on the one included in Nigella Lawson’s Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake in “How to be a Domestic Goddess”, a book that I return to over-and over again in search of goddessness!
My Lemon Verbena Ice Cream is a great way of showcasing the unique taste of this herb. In addition to the taste of lemon, it also has additional subtle notes of ginger which make it an excellent flavouring for ice cream. As lemon verbena may be hard to source, I have also included the option in the recipe of using grated lemon zest as an alternative flavouring. This will make an excellent ice-cream but the taste will be different.
About Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a small shrub, native to western South America. It was was brought to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 17th century. Its leaves have a strong lemon scent with other flavour notes, in particular ginger. They can be used to produce flavoured oil and herbal tea. Lemon verbena can be used to bring a lemon flavour to savoury meat and fish dishes and marinades. It can also be used in sweet dishes such as puddings, cakes, sorbets and, of course, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.
Grow your own!
Adding fresh herbs to a dish is such a quick and easy way of transforming it into something special. Once you get to know the different flavours, there is endless potential for experimentation. You will get to know which herbs you prefer, which go well with each other and which ones enhance particular dishes.
I am a great advocate for growing your own herbs. They take up little space and can be grown in pots on a window ledge or balcony if you do not have a garden. Most of them are also very easy to grow. If you grow your own, you will have access to a much wider range of flavours as, unfortunately, it is hard to find more unusual herbs in the supermarkets.
Sourcing lemon verbena
If you want to grow your own herbs, including lemon verbena, there are a number of specialist herb nurseries, which will provide herbs by mail order, including Herbal Haven where I bought a number of my more unusual herbs.
Whisk and bowl. This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 8 of Method)
This ice cream showcases the subtle herbal flavour of lemon verbena which has additional notes of ginger in addition to lemon. As it may be hard to source lemon verbena, I have included an alternative using lemon zest. This is a good, but different, ice-cream.
4 egg yolks
85 g caster sugar
425 ml double cream
2 tablespoons of very finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or the grated zest of one unwaxed lemon)
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
Put the cream and chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or grated lemon zest) in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
Remove the saucepan containing the cream and lemon verbena (or grated lemon zest) from the heat. At this stage you can strain the cream to remove all the pieces of lemon verbena leaf (or grated lemon zest). I generally don’t strain the chopped herbs out as I like them distributed through the ice-cream but I know some people prefer a totally smooth ice-cream with just the flavour. If you are going to leave the pieces in the ice-cream, you need to make sure that the leaves are very finely chopped – no one wants huge fragments of leaf in their pudding!
Pour the infused cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is). Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer to your ice cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen. Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
Although the preparation time and cook time totals 20 minutes you will need to allow additional time for the ice cream mixture to become completely cold before you freeze it.
You can make this ice cream either using lemon verbena or the zest of a lemon. Both will taste lemony (and very good!) but the taste will be different – a subtle soft herbal lemon flavour with hints of ginger – if you are using lemon verbena. If you can get hold of it, it is really worth a try!
These Lemon Biscuits are very quick and easy to make and also very versatile. They are made of lovely buttery shortbread, flavoured with zesty lemon, and the addition of ground almonds keeps them moist and gives them a lovely crumbly texture.
I tend to make mine heart-shaped (if you look at the rest of my blog you will see that I love heart-shaped food) as I think hearts are pretty! However, round is fine – or any other shape you like. They are great biscuits to make with children, as they are very straight-forward, so if you want to get creative (and have the right kind of cookie cutters) you could go for flowers or rabbits or trains or whatever takes your fancy!
These biscuits are excellent as an accompaniment to ice-cream – I particularly like them with my Elderflower Ice-cream – but they are also great with morning coffee or afternoon tea. I think they would also make a good edible gift for a birthday or Mothers’ Day.