Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

The Finished Product w BrushstrokeJeff and I are having some friends over for dinner this evening.  It will be a very casual dinner as I try out some recipes for one of the cooking classes I’ll be teaching at the Kitchen Shoppe in the spring.

I am excited for this new journey and have been learning so much along the way.  Each iteration of a recipe teaches me about the effects of all kinds of things – a change in spices, different cooking times, higher or lower temperatures, fresher ingredients – on the end result.  It has been a fun process and I am thankful for the support of my family and friends – those people who are willing to eat not only the successes, but the failures as well!!!

For dessert tonight, we’ll be having Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.  Some people find the idea of baking with olive oil quite strange; frankly I feel sorry for those folks because they are missing out on some amazing moisture and flavor!

I thought I’d show you the process of making this cake.

I started by preparing the cake pan.  You can either use a bundt pan or a tube pan.  I used a tube pan with a removable bottom, which makes getting the cake out whole a lot easier.  First I buttered the pan, next I sprinkled it with minced fresh rosemary, and finally I sprinkled it with a mixture of polenta and sugar.

Then I set about making the batter. The following are the ingredients that go into this deliciously moist cake.  The only thing I didn’t photograph is the 1/2 cup of room temperature butter.

First is four teaspoons of minced fresh rosemary.

Minced Fresh Rosemary3/4 cup polenta or stone ground corn meal.

.75 Cup Polenta

1 1/3 cup sugar.


1 cup all-purpose flour.


2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt.

2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt

1/2 cup olive oil.

Olive Oil

5 large eggs, at room temperature and 2 egg yolks, at room temperature.

5 large eggs2 large egg yolks

1/3 teaspoon of vanilla paste.  I really love how you can see the vanilla seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean suspended in the sugary paste!

vanilla paste

I sifted together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then in a separate bowl, I whisked together the eggs, egg yolks, olive oil and vanilla paste.  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, I creamed the butter and sugar for 5 minutes.  The following photos show the butter/sugar mixture after having been beaten for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 minutes – notice how it gets fluffier the longer it is beaten.

1 Minute

1 Minute

2 minutes

2 Minutes

3 Minutes

3 Minutes

4 Minutes

4 Minutes

5 Minutes

5 Minutes

After the butter and sugar are sufficiently beaten, I added the egg mixture in a slow stream and then added the flour mixture and continued to mix just until all the ingredients were incorporated. You have to be careful not to over mix or you’ll end up with a tough cake.

I scooped the batter into the prepared pan and stood back to admire my handiwork!

Batter in Pan

Then I baked the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean – in my oven that took about 44 minutes.

The house smelled amazing while the cake was baking.  There was a nice aroma of rosemary mixed with a hint of sweetness in the air.  I can’t wait to give this cake a try after dinner.

Hopefully the photos above inspired you to try out this recipe.  It is a simple cake – not a lot of flash, but it is delicious and a great end to a rustic Italian meal.  Simply dust with powdered sugar and serve with a nice strong espresso. Enjoy!

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Meal type Dessert


Preparing Pan

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons polenta or stone ground corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 4 teaspoons freshly minced rosemary
  • 3/4 cups polenta or stone ground corn meal
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla paste


Adapted slightly from Dvid Lebovit's Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Preparing Pan
2. Grease the inside of a 10 cup Bundt pan or tube pan with 1 Tbsp butter, taking care to coat all interior surfaces.
3. Sprinkle the 2 tsp minced rosemary evenly into the pan.
4. Mix 1 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp polenta and sprinkle evenly into the pan, tilting the pan to coat the sides.
5. In a small bowl, sift together flour, 3/4 cup polenta, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla paste.
7. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 -5 minutes.
8. With the mixer running, SLOWLY pour in the egg mixture until completely incorporated.
9. Stir in the flour mixture along with the remaining rosemary. DO NOT OVERMIX.
10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
11. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
12. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate.
13. Eat and Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

  1. Hi Jan/Jeff, its Jeri from Union Market — love your blog Jan and enjoyed it so much I subscribed. Can’t wait to share it with Ola. We enjoyed meeting you and Jeff as well. Thanks for mentioning our choir and providing a link. The church is in the process of updating our website. It is so frumpy and outdated it is sad. I expect that the re-vamp/ update will be completed by early spring. I’ll shoot you a message when its done.

  2. sounds and LOOKS amazing! You’ve got some LUCKY friends! Please let us know when you have a date/time for the cooking classes. That’s something I would really enjoy.

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