Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let There Be Cake

As my gal pals know, I am a sweets gal. I can ignore a bag of chips all. day. long. but when it comes to brownies, cookies or pies, I am snatching up the goodies in a hot second.

Except cake. I don't know what it is about cake, but I really just don't love it. So much so that honestly, we are thinking about alternative wedding sweets ... hopefully no one gets too upset if we choose to not include cake on OUR big day ;)

Thankfully, no one in my immediate family likes cake either, and so birthdays growing up were full of alternative desserts topped with flaming candles. We're talking creme brulee, flan, berry cobblers, root beer floats and even the amazing cheesecake enchiladas from the now defunct Nava (for which we have a paper recipe but I can't find it online. Access Atlanta does has a few other Nava recipes for your own making at home, though!).

Early last year, I pulled a recipe out of Weight Watchers magazine for a savory cake that managed to catch my eye despite my cake-hating ways, all thanks to its main ingredient -- rosemary! I love rosemary and could use rosemary on everything and be happy. I finally made this cake for a recent girls evening and it got rave reviews, so I wanted to share it with all of you here, too. Be warned -- proper cake making takes some time. This cake calls for separating seven eggs and folding things together. This isn't your momma's box mix that you whip up with the hand blender and just two eggs and some oil ;)

Rosemary and Olive Oil Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine, March 2011

1 1/2 c cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
7 large eggs, separated, at room tempurature
1/2 c tepid water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar

Place oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk granulated sugar and rosemary in large bowl until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in water and vanilla until blended. Slowly add oil in thin steady stream, whisking constantly, until well blended. Add flour mixture, folding it in with rubber spatula until blended.

With electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Increase speed to high. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form, 1-1 1/2 minutes. Add beaten whites to yolk mixture, gently folding it in with rubber spatula until blended.

Scrape batter into ungreased bundt cake or tube pan; spread evenly. Bake until golden brown and cake springs back when lightly pressed, about 55 minutes, rotating pan front to back halfway through baking time. To serve once cooled completely, run thin knife around edge of cake and loosen it from side and center of pan. Remove cake from pan and put on serving plate; dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 16 slices.

Per serving (1 slice):
174 cal, 6 g total fat, 1 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 93 mg chol, 147 mg sod, 27 g total carb, 17 g total sugar, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein, 39 mg calcium. PointsPlus value: 5

Tip from the magazine: Because extra-virgin olive oil is the primary ingredient that gives this cake it's subtle, rich flavor, they recommend using the best-quality oil you can find. However, I used Publix brand and it worked out great, too ;)