Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate

March 22, 2016
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate is a cake I love. It's incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted with chocolate

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank-you, it will be enough”   ~ Meister Eckhart

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Photo Credit: Gratitude With Grace

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This past week a beautiful comment left about Spaghetti Saturdays from a fellow Iowa Blogger“I love this, Ali. We also have a monthly potluck dinner with a group of friends.  It’s the highlight of our month”

From one kindred spirit to another, I so understand.  There are many reasons we look forward to our monthly dinner parties,  but at its essence?  When someone (or something) in your life means so much, you can’t help but want to share them

with those you love

Selfishly it was a chance to see all of the wonderful people we hold dear, but really, we wanted them to meet each other.  The outcome was better than we ever could have imagined.  After the first couple of months, name tags went by the wayside and now friends from all walks of life come together to catch up

While I’m excited before every event, this month held a special place in my heart.  After the painful loss of our dog, I looked forward to sharing our humble memorial.  One to which the very first picture ever taken of him, was added that evening.

A gift from my daughter who, along with her husband and my two-year-old grandson returned to Iowa this past month.

We’ve been estranged for longer than either of us care to admit.  We’re slowly trying again.  This was their first Spaghetti Saturday

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate is a cake I love. It's incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted with chocolate

Admittedly, with only a few minutes before our guests were due to arrive, a couple of last-minute cancellations and meatballs for twenty-five that wouldn’t hold their shape had left me with a tear in my eye and a

lump in my throat

I slowly made my way around the house, adjusting the music, and lighting the candles.  My husband’s words of encouragement playing in my mind like a mantra

“Focus on the good; we have so very much to be thankful for”

Words I found myself repeating, from the first ring of the doorbell, until the last glass of bubbly had been sipped, clean-up was finished, and we laid in the dark talking well into the night.

Neighbors who make the best salads (and share their recipes!)

Russian beer and homemade Sangria

Funny stories of Spring Break in Washington D.C. (as told by a nine-year-old)

A darn good dishwasher

The love of a sure and steady spouse

March Madness on the tv

A two-year-old with a big plate of spaghetti


Touching stories of pets loved and lost



Burnt Eggplant with Tahini  (the very first recipe she made from a favorite cookbook)

An invitation to play a round of golf

Surprising topics of conversation

The word “Grandma”

Second chances, and the decision to fully inhabit our now

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate is a cake I love. It's incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted with chocolate

As his bedtime quickly approached, his parents begun making their way to the door.  With his jacket and fuzzy slippers came the realization that it was indeed time to bid farewell

A man on a mission, he proceeded to tackle the kindest, sweetest task of the evening.  A gift that would touch the hearts of young and old, huggers and non-huggers alike.

Little Eli ran from person to person and gave them each a hug.  By the time he was finished, every heart had been reduced to a puddle on the floor.

“Good-bye Grandma.  See you later.  Wuv you”

“Good-bye, sweet one, come again soon.  I love you too”

Another reminder that my true work is rarely found on the desk in front of me, at the kitchen sink, or waiting in my inbox.  Instead, it has to do with softening my heat and strengthening my faith that what is, is simply meant to be.

Which means accepting myself as I am, being thankful for and embracing my life, right here, right now, as the incredible gift that it truly is

That alone is as good a reason as any to light some candles, make the house smell delicious, give thanks for friendship, and second chances.  To keep sharing with others what’s in our hearts, and so very special to us

To always remember to focus on the good.  Because my sweet husband was right all along.  We do have so very, very much to be

thankful for

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate is a cake I love. It's incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted with chocolate

A new recipe to share today.

A cake that’s incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chunks of chocolate.  It’s one of those cakes that’s both distinctive and memorable in an understated way

The rosemary is the wild card factor here, and it permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way.  Not at all overpowering.

It’s one of those perfect picnic, travel, or lunchbox cakes



ps:  As the author notes, you don’t need to use a specialty olive oil for this cake.  But if you have one with lots of flavor, the cake will be that much better.

Also, I’d really suggest chopping up a chocolate bar for this cake.  It’s not just going to be the same if you use uniform chocolate chips. Aim for big chunks (1/2″ in diameter).  You’ll end up with all sorts of shavings and littler pieces as you’re chopping, and having that mix of flecks and the big chunks is really pretty great

pps:  More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays

— — —

~ Adapted from The Wednesday Chef, and originally from the cookbook Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate


  • Dry Ingredients
  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup natural sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • Wet Ingredients
  • 3 eggs (large or XL)
  • 1 cup olive oil + more for prepping the pan
  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 70% cacao, chopped into ½" pieces
  • 2 Tbsp natural sugar, for top crunch


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F
  • Rub a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil. Alternately, I used a loaf pan and lined it with parchment paper.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring any bits of grain or other ingredients left in the sifter back into the bowl. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.
  • Add the olive oil, milk, and rosemary and whisk again.
  • Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined.
  • Stir in ⅔ of the chocolate.
  • Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and run a fork along the length of the chocolate so that the batter envelops it just a bit.
  • Sprinkle with the natural sugar.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • My cake, in the loaf pan, took closer to 50-55 minutes.
  • Also, just when the cake was nearly finished baking, if I want a bit more color on top, I'll finish it off under the broiler for a minute. This will caramelize the sugar on top and gave it a bit of crunch. (Don't walk away from the cake while it is under the broiler)
  • The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days
Serves: 14
Nutrition + Show
Calories 335
Total Fat 21g
Saturated Fat 5g
Carbohydrates 31.4g
Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 15g
Protein 5g
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  • Reply Anna March 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    This is a beautiful post and a very beautiful cake. You are right, we have so much to be thankful for, but it’s good to be reminded of it sometimes. So thank you for this post, it’s made me pause and think about what it is that I have to be thankful for. The cake sounds delicious as well, I might try this recipe soon. Love olive oil cake!

    • Reply sexyveggie March 25, 2016 at 1:31 am

      Anna .. thank-you so very much.

      Have a wonderful weekend .. Ali

  • Reply Roger Willis March 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    4 stars
    Rosemary Olive Oil Cake + Bittersweet Chocolate….I never knew that these ingredients could be combined to make a cake! It sounds interesting! My wife and I rarely venture out to try anything like this, I suppose it’s because of a combination of ingredients, but this may be our first venture out! Sorry for lost of your fur baby

  • Reply Lisa Favre March 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

    This cake seems absolutely delightful! I love how the cake is not huge and overwhelming with numerous layers. Simplicity at its best!

  • Reply Nina March 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

    5 stars
    I know the feeling of preparing your house for a social gathering and then not having the turnout you had hoped for. It can for sure feel awful. But like you said, you just have to make the best of it and count your blessings!

  • Reply Emma March 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Oooh I love the sound of using rosemary in a cake – not something I’ve tried before. This would be great for me as it doesn’t seem like it would be too sweet and bittersweet chocolate is my favourite kind!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus March 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I am sorry to hear about the losses you have endured and I can imagine this cake being a bitter sweet representation of loved ones. In terms of your house gathering, these things happen but the main thing the people who counted were there and some even in spirit. What a lovely cake x

  • Reply Ana Ojha March 26, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    5 stars
    I loved your writing style – beginning your post with your personal story and then sharing the awesome recipe! I’m sure everyone who had a bite of this cake would be very fortunate as the cake looks extremely delicious and mouth-watering. I wish I could delight my taste buds with this cake right now!

  • Reply Kimberly c. March 27, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Wow what a unique combination of flavors. Olive oil and chocolate….I would love to try it. I see that there Is sugar in it and that always works with me.

  • Reply Rhian Westbury March 27, 2017 at 4:41 am

    What a lovely way to meet new people and spend time with others. And what an usual combination of cake, sounds really intriguing. x

  • Reply Enricoh Alfonzo March 27, 2017 at 9:10 am

    5 stars
    oh my gosh! that looks so mouth watering! Such an uniquely crreative recipe, i love it.
    Will be so awesome to try this out

  • Reply Natasha Amar March 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

    This sounds delicious! My husband is great at baking- far better than me and I will be sharing this recipe with him to try out this weekend!

  • Reply Elizabeth O. March 27, 2017 at 11:30 am

    It sounds like you had a beautiful weekend. I’m glad that you enjoyed having dinner with friends and your daughter. There’s really so much to be thankful for. I would love to try this recipe one of these days.

  • Reply Heather March 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    A beautiful post. Admittedly, I am not a big rosemary fan, but I do love olive oil and my hubs loves chocolate. I may try this with a small modification on the rosemary. It looks beautiful!

  • Reply Sheri March 31, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    A lovely post and yes always try to focus on the good. We should treasure the moments we have with loved ones as much as possible. And yes, the cake looks delicious.

  • Reply Bethany April 2, 2017 at 11:33 am

    That looks super delish! I love a good recipe! I really like the image too with “what friends and family are for”. Comfort foods are seriously the best!

  • Reply diana April 2, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    5 stars
    this was a lovely and warm post. and the recipe is lovely. rosemary-i have tried my hand at baking but never thought of rosemary and cake so this one is definitely unique. thanks for sharing the recipe. the pictures are tempting

  • Reply Jaime NIcole June 9, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Friends are so important! I just love the idea of starting a monthly potluck. It can be so hard to find time to get together and what a nice way to reconnect – over food!

  • Reply Alli Smith June 9, 2017 at 5:20 am

    It’s refreshing to read about monthly get-togethers with friends, neighbors and good food. It’s sad that so many people don’t even know their neighbors. My entire family (along with 4 grandsons) comes over for Sunday lunch each week and it’s our time to reconnect and linger over dessert and coffee. We, indeed, have much to be thankful for.

  • Reply Caroline June 9, 2017 at 6:50 am

    I think this is great idea. I live in NYC and I pretty much only know half the floor. We might have to just have our get together in the hallway!

  • Reply Jeanette June 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I have a bitter sweet love for Rosemary. Sometimes I can’t get enough of it and sometimes it’s so overpowering that I can’t stand it. However I have never thought to put it into something sweet. I bet it pairs well with chocolate and there is not so much of it in this recipe that it will be over powering! Thanks!

  • Reply Eloise June 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    well you had me at ‘cake’! I’ve never tried baking cake with rosemary, sounds amazing! this would be very good to have in the morning with an ice coffee. Looks like I’ll be baking this weekend ; )

  • Reply HeidiDee June 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. I definitely understand the rough time that can cause as they are like family members 🙁

  • Reply Sarah Bailey June 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    What a beautiful sounding cake, the perfect addition to any special family meal for sure. There is something bittersweet about saying goodbye at the end of a good day / meal.

  • Reply Eileen June 9, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Having a monthly dinner party is such a great idea to get together. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, having friends around is definitely helpful.

  • Reply Amanda Love June 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Oh, my heart. What a dear post for someone who has so much to be thankful for but also would like to remember what she has gone through. I think this dinner party is a great way to commemorate love and friendship. Cheers to you and your husband! I love the cake recipe.

  • Reply Jocelyn June 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Dinners like this make you realize how much you have in life. So much positivity and love! I’d love to host my version of Spaghetti Saturdays someday. There will always be so much to be thankful for.

  • Reply michele d June 10, 2017 at 7:05 am

    What a touching post. I’m not going to lie, my eyes filled up. We do have a lot to be thankful for. Loving your new cake recipe. I bet it tastes amazing!

  • Reply Rose Cottrill June 10, 2017 at 9:20 am

    My daughter always look for recipe to try as she love baking so I will be showing this to her.I am grateful for bakers like you because I am not a baker at all.

  • Reply Sara-Jayne Jones June 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Golly – you’ve been through so much – I’m so sorry for the loss of your dog [when we lost our dogs, my heart broke and I still can’t think of them without sobbing] but I’m so, so happy that you got sweet hugs from your grandson. Your husband sounds so much like mine, such a good man. X

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor June 11, 2017 at 12:46 am

    5 stars
    This is a great post and your husbands words are something we all tend to forget. Everyone at one point or another does forget to be grateful for what and who they have in their life even if it is just for a moment. Having a get together with family and friends at least one day a month or at least twice a year is something I believe everyone should do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences along with an interesting recipe.

  • Reply Agnes June 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Adding rosemary is a very interesting variation to this recipe. I will give jt a try, glad to hear it is not overpowering.

  • Reply LaShawn June 12, 2017 at 5:06 am

    I never thought about adding olive oil OR Rosemary to a cake! I’m going to have to try it out!

  • Reply Adrienne June 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    5 stars
    This looks delicious and you had me at “chocolate”! lol Do you know of a way to make this gluten free??

  • Reply Carin Kilby Clark June 13, 2017 at 7:48 am

    This cake looks delicious and agree — we always have so much to be thankful for. Rosemary, Olive Oil, and Chocolate are three of my favorite ingredients to cook with so I definitely have to give this a try.

  • Reply Katherine June 13, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I love rosemary on most everything, but you need a soft hand with it. I’ve never thought to pair it with chocolate, but of course it makes perfect sense x

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