A Parade of Elephants, A Celebration of Polar Bears and A Goodbye Party

photo courtesy of nigella.com
Very soon my friend, Zookeeper, will be leaving this fine metropolis we call home for new adventures in Tennessee. She has always been good for a conversation starter (she once bought hair at a mall kiosk and now owns an RV) and a hookup to see the behind the scenes action at the zoo. Seriously...I got to be within mere feet of a polar bear and penguins. 

Anyway. In honor of her departure some of us have gathered to kibbutz and nosh bringing something to share. I wasn't sure what to conjure up in the kitchen with the present heatwave but got inspired when I came across my dear friend, Nigella's web site last night. The cake recipe I found used fresh rosemary. And I was just starting to worry about what I was going to use my rosemary for before it overtook the pot. Here's the recipe:

*WARNING* Nigella is British.  Therefore her ingredients are all measured out in things like "g" and "stones" and "clicks".  If you don't have a proper scale at home email me and I will walk you through Googleing conversions.  

Rosemary Cake

1 apple (180g), diced
1 small sprig rosemary
1 t granulated sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 t butter

225g butter, room temperature
150g granulated sugar + 1 T
3 eggs
300g all purpose flour
2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350.

In small saucepan place first five ingredients. Saute until apple is tender and easy to pierce with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool remove sprig of rosemary and throw away.  After removing rosemary place apple mixture in small food processor and process until smooth.

In medium bowl mix together 225g butter, 150g granulated sugar, 3 eggs, 300g all purpose flour and 2 t baking powder.  Using hand mixer, combine dry ingredients with apple mixture.  

Brush your loaf pan (8 by something or 9 by something will work - trust me) with a shortening like substance and line with parchment if you are worried about burning.  If you are a confident baker and have a relationship with your oven that you can read its mind you can get away with just brushing the BOTTOM of the pan with shortening or pan spray.  Why only the bottom? If you brush the sides you get that nasty lip around the edge of your loaf. And we don't want any extra lips.  Ewww.  

Fill your properly prepared loaf pan with the cake batter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 T of granulated sugar. And for a more fabulous cake pick up some decorating sugar and let that cake sparkle like a disco ball at a New Jersey bar mitzvah.  

Now simply lay the large sprig of rosemary across your loaf and pop that baby in the oven for about 60 mins or until your oven tells you telepathically that the cake is done.  

So Zookeeper we wish you the best of luck as you care for elephants in Tennessee.  That's right elephants in Tennessee.  The end is near.  









Chocolate Rosemary Ginger Cake

As promised to a yet determined fan base...a picture of the Chocolate Rosemary Ginger Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache I "status updated" on Facebook yesterday.

My good friend, Lawyer, put in a request for a chocolate cake with the directions of, "do whatever you want". I took that as a chance to use whatever I had in the kitchen. Which thanks to some narcotic-like ground ginger and FRESH rosemary from our personal back 40 on the window ledge I cooked up some liquid wonder, Rosemary Ginger Simple Syrup (I imagine many new cocktail options or naked late night hits right out of the bottle while looking fabulous in the glow of the Frigidaire light).