"Good to the Grain" Olive Oil Rosemary Cake

Olive Oil Rosemary Cake

For my second bout with Kim Boyce's "Good to the Grain" cookbook, I decided to make the Olive Oil Rosemary cake.  The whole wheat chocolate chip cookies worked out so well that I was excited to try something a little more exotic.  The mix of olive oil, rosemary and chocolate sounded intriguing and who doesn't get giddy just at the thought of baking with spelt flour?

I made one cake following the recipe to the letter (except that I used 3/4 cup of egg beaters instead of 3 whole eggs).  The recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of whole milk and I poured it in--fat, lactose and all.  But I was curious to see if the cake would come out well if I substituted the whole milk with Trader Joe's almond milk (the unsweetened vanilla flavor, which I adore).  I made a second cake so I could run a taste test.  In the second cake I also used some semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of just the chopped bittersweet chocolate called for in the recipe.  Before this olive oil cake adventure I had not realized how difficult it is to chop up chocolate into 1/2 inch pieces without creating tons of useless little chocolate shards.  The chocolate chip is actually a brilliant invention and allowed me to have better chocolate dispersal in the second cake.  

The whole milk caked browned perfectly in the allotted 40 minutes of baking time.  The almond milk cake without the fat (and sugar) from the whole milk took longer to brown and didn't get quite as satisfyingly brown around the edges as the first one.

I served the two cakes as dessert at a small dinner party.  The consensus was that the cake with the whole milk was slightly moister than the almond milk cake but the flavors of both cakes were very similar.  Everyone agreed that they would choose the almond milk cake over the whole milk cake since it has fewer calories and fat without giving up much on texture or flavor.  Overall, it was an interesting cake to try, but I do not know if I would make it again.  The olive oil rosemary cake is not really a crowd pleaser and doesn't satisfy one's deep longing for dessert.  It certainly has an interesting flavor, but it's just not that decadent.  When it comes to dessert "interesting" just doesn't quite cut it.

If I were to make this cake again (maybe for a brunch), I would definitely use the almond milk instead of whole milk and and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of a block of bittersweet chocolate.  But for my next baking feat, I think I'll try something more indulgence-worthy.

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