This cake recipe is based on Nigella's Rosemary Rememberance Cake. Nigella made it in honour of her maternal grandmother who was called Rosemary. The sentiment behind this struck a real chord with me as my paternal grandmother cooked extensively with flowers when I was a growing up and she unwittingly became a real influence in my later career even though sadly she was no alive to see it.The cake mix is made in two set parts and two optional extras. It does have a strong rosemary flavour as this is what I like but it can always be tamed by using less.
Oven gas mark 3/ 170º/325ºFor the filling:1 eating apple
2 spring rosemary
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon of butterFor the cake batter:225 grams butter
150grams of caster sugar
3 large eggs
300 grams plain sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder.My optional twist for the rosemary syrup:2 sprigs of rosemary
50mls of golden caster sugar
50mls of water
grated zest of half a lemonCream Cheese Frosting should you want it:100 grms of butter (at room temperature)
250 grms of cream cheese
100grms of icing sugar (sifted)
1) Peel, core and roughly chop the apple and put in a sauce pan with the other 'filling' ingredients. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 4-8 minutes until the apple is soft.
2) Leave to cool and then pull out the rosemary sprig when it is cold.
3) Put the filling in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Then add the cake batter ingredients and process to a smooth batter.
This recipe will make a cake perfect for a 1lb cake tin which has been buttered and lined. For the cake here, I doubled the ingredients and split them amongst three round cake tins. If cooking in a 1lb loaf tin then cook for approximately 50 minutes. If using round cake tins then it will take less time depending upon the diameter of your tins. The cake is cooked when it comes away a little from the edge of the tins and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.When Nigella makes her cake in a 1lb loaf tin she lays a long sprig of rosemary lengthways along the top of the cake for the oil to infuse as the cake cooks. For this more celebratory cake, I made a light rosemary/lemon sugar syrup by gently heating 50mls of water with the sugar, lemon zest and rosemary sprigs until the sugar has disolved. I left this to cool and then fished out the rosemary. When the cakes were cold I pierced the sponges with a skewer and poured over the syrup to make a lovely moist fragrant sponge.
To make this celebratory cake, layer and cover with the cream cheese frosting as detailed above, garnished with sprigs of rosemary and scattered with rosemary flowers.