This week I wanted to make something different, so I did a search for savory breads and found two that have turned out exceptionally well: French Herb Spiral Bread (tomorrow’s blog post) and this Chocolate-Rosemary Loaf adapted from Anna Jones in the UK Guardian — the link is in the .pdf file at the bottom. I wasn’t 100% sure, but OH, I’m glad I took the chance!
Anna writes: One of my three favorite cakes (made in rotation) is a loaf cake peppered with flecks of rosemary and chunks of chocolate and which uses olive oil instead of butter. The rosemary and chocolate are an unexpectedly subtle pairing, which I adore. This is a less sweet cake, almost fudgy, dotted with chunks of chocolate with a delicate herbal back-note. It’s so good that, if I got married again, I’d have it as a layer in my wedding cake.
You can use a standard olive oil here; it doesn’t need to be extra virgin. It pairs wonderfully with rosemary, but I have also made this by nestling a few [fresh] bay leaves in the top of the batter instead. You could also replace the rosemary with orange zest or the seeds from a vanilla pod.
Here’s how mine turned out: messy-looking but squidgy and absolutely delicious!
Prep takes 15 minutes, cook time is 40 minutes; this recipe makes a 1kg (2lb) loaf.
300g (1 1/3 cup) plain or light spelt flour
125g (generous ½ cup) light muscovado sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1 generous pinch salt – I like to use Kosher salt rather than table salt
3 medium eggs
250ml/225g (1 cup) olive oil
150ml (2/3 cup) milk – ordinary dairy milk or I use plant milk
2 springs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
150g (6 oz) 70-72% dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp demerara sugar
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line a standard 5” x 9” loaf pan with parchment.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and use a whisk to mix together, making sure there are no lumps of baking powder.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and mix. Now fold the olive oil mixture into the dry ingredients, gently mixing until just combined, but no more: for a cake light in texture, don’t overmix.
Stir in most of the chocolate, saving a little for the top. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Scatter the rest of the chocolate on top, pushing the pieces down into the mixture a little so they are half covered, then scatter over the demerara sugar for a crunchy top. (I didn’t have any demerara sugar, so I sprinkled a little kosher salt on top, and that was even better!)
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a rack, and wait until fully cool before slicing. This cake freezes well, or will keep in an airtight tin for 2-3 days… if it lasts that long.