Damp, almondy, citrus cakes are one of my favourite kinds, I especialy love the ones that are so drenched in syrup that it leaves a sticky film on your fingers and are practically “juicy”. This cake ticks all the right boxes: very, very syrupy, gloriously dense, with the added bonus of a surprise flavour: rosemary! It’s very subtle but it makes quite a difference, and I find myself really liking the pairing of this usually savoury herb with sweet desserts. I was first and foremost motivated to use rosemary in this cake for economic reasons- I had already bought a bunch for the apricot jam I made a few days back and didn’t want to waste it! Being frugal has its rewards I suppose. Also, I’d first encountered rosemary in a cake in Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Rosemary pound cake back in 2005 (!!) then again at a café across LCB which serves their version of orange-rosemary cake (which is awfully expensive!) so I thought it’s about time I made a cake with rosemary in it. I was very specific about what I wanted: 1) it needs to be made with olive oil 2) flourless 3) very orangey 4) drenched in syrup so it took me well over an hour to find a recipe that seemed right.. and found it on BBC Good Food.. doh!! I just replaced the saffron with rosemary, but next time I’d replace one of the oranges with lemon, I think it’d be better slightly more tart. I ate mine with double cream but it’s very lovely with raspberry coulis too, like how they do it at the café.
I’m not a big chocolate person so I can’t really judge how good a chocolate cake is. But that being said, I do quite like this flourless chocolate cake from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook with berries and cream. I brought one for dessert to my friend Ian’s house when he cooked us a truly glorious Italian meal, and we had it with raspberries and blackberries and a big scoop of clotted cream ice-cream It’s quite dense and very rich so a teensy slice is enough, and the cream and berries are so necessary. It’s truly a big pain to make though- I used every single bowl I own and several pots to make it! The eggs need to be whipped with sugar, chocolate melted over a bain marie, yoghurt and milk boiled in a small pan, a meringue needs to be made, AND cream had to be whipped.. argh.
However, I’m not quite happy enough with this recipe though, I think I’ll try River Cafe’s Nemesis cake next. The recipe is similar to this cake which is really good but.. somehow not what I’m looking for when I think of a flourless chocolate cake. It’s a super fudgy dense cake, like a chocolate fondant, but what I want looks exactly like this Bourke St one, lopsided and rustic with a sunken middle, but squidgier and mousse-ier instead of dense.. if you know what I mean? A simple solution would be to slightly underbake this but it kinda seems like cheating.. I think maybe I’ll try cooking it in a waterbath. But wrapping a loose bottom tin with a double layer of aluminium foil is a real bitch and water always leaks into it no matter how careful I am. Perhaps the problem with a flourless chocolate cake is the fact that it’s flourless..? Or perhaps it’s just my lack of enthusiasm for chocolate..