Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake (Cake for those who don’t like desserts)

I’m not much of a sweet tooth.  I love to make desserts and although I have categorically tasted everything I make and posted here, if I’m eating cake, I scrape the icing off (yes, sacrilegious I know).

I recently made a cake for a dinner with friends.  Everyone brought a dish to share and I made this lemon, rosemary and olive oil cake.  I’ll give you fair warning now, if you love chocolate cake, with decadent layers of ganache, dotted with cookie dough and drizzled with oozy warm caramel sauce, flee!  Now!  This cake is for those with savoury palettes, who ordinarily eschew desserts because they’re too sweet. It was, in all honesty, a dessert I’d made for myself! 😛  I was surprised however when many declared it was amazing, best cake they have had for a long time and “what do you mean there’s rosemary in this?”.  There were a couple who screwed up their faces at how tart the lemon was….but like I said, sweet tooths, flee….while you have the chance! 😛


The lemons go a little scorched in the pan, so there’s some bitterness, which I feel adds another dimension to this cake.

I adapted this recipe from a Curtis Stone for Coles recipe.  Curtis’ (yes we’re on a first names basis) recipe is an olive oil cake with citrus and rosemary and uses mandarins, oranges and lemons.  I had some beautiful lemons which a friend had given me from her lemon tree, so I went with just the lemons.  I’m sure Curtis won’t mind. ;P

Recipe for Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake DSC_1275    


1.5 cups (225g) plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup (220g) raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon raw sugar for sprinkling

2.5 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 large lemon (more if you wish)

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt flakes

1/4 cup (60ml) milk

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (it really does need to be extra virgin…use other oils at your peril;))

Extra oil for drizzling

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (170 degrees for fan forced ovens or 375 degrees F).

Grease a 22cm round cake pan with olive oil.  I also lined the bottom of my pan with a round of baking paper.  (I pop my pan on my baking paper, trace around the base and cut the round out.)

Pop your flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir to combine.

Using a microplane or fine grater, grate your lemon rind.  Feel free to use the rind/zest from 2 lemons if you like your cakes zingy.  I did :).

In a large bowl pop your sugar, rosemary and grated lemon rind and mix well with a spoon, fingers or a food processor.  (I put the whole mix in my Thermomix and blitzed it till it was well combined.  5 seconds on Speed 6.)

Add eggs and salt to the sugar and using an electric mixer beat the mixture for about 5 minutes until pale and thick.  (5 minutes on Speed 4 in the Thermomix.)

Add your milk to the mix and beat for another 30 seconds (Speed 4).

With your mixer on, gradually add the olive oil to the batter and beat for another 30-60 seconds (Speed 4).

Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour until just combined.  You don’t want to over mix it.  It should be slightly lumpy.  Let the batter stand covered for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar at the bottom of your cake pan.

Peel and slice up your lemon(s) thinly and line your pan with your lemon slices.



Pour your cake batter in the pan and smooth out with a spatula.

Pop in the middle rack of your oven and bake for between 30-40 minutes.  Mine took 35 minutes. Those extra 5 minutes were excruciating!

You’ll know your cake is cooked if it bounces back slightly when you press the top or if a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and invert on a serving dish (i.e. lemon layer which was at the bottom of the pan should now be the top of the cake).  Leaving the cake in the pan helps it not to fall apart on you.  I did need to run a spatula around the edge of the cake to help it transition out of the cake pan.

Sprinkle a few extra rosemary leaves on the cake and drizzle a little olive oil over your cake. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey over the cake and dust liberally with icing sugar.  My lemons were really rather tart and needed the extra honey and sugar, but if your lemons are less tart you could omit the honey.



Serve generously to every cake disdainer you know and watch their face light up with wonder!



PS. Whatsbeccooking is now on instagram. 🙂 I’ve also posted pics of lovely meals we’ve had while out and about.  Not food I’ve cooked, but more food pics to drool over is always a plus for me. 🙂


32 thoughts on “Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake (Cake for those who don’t like desserts)

      1. You are very welcome. And whenever you have the time check out my blog OldCountryGirl for new recipes!


      1. I have a stack of cards and I am planning to take a week lol to just try some stuff out! I have tried about 7 things so far, so I will try it sounds really unique! I like different and this is definitely that!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, let me know what you think! If your family aren’t into sour cakes, you can always add a few orange slices on the top to make it less tart and tangy 🙂
      Enjoy celebrating Father’s Day this Sunday 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s