Monday, August 26, 2013

The Bees' Knees: Rosemary Corn Cake with a Honey & Brown Butter Buttercream



I'll be honest with you friends, this cake was born out of my own laziness. A couple weeks ago I desperately wanted a cake, but I only had enough butter in the cupboard for frosting and not for the cake itself. Having no desire to leave my home on the weekend and waltz into the blistering LA heat, I decided to try making an olive oil-based cake. So, I started thinking about the flavors that go well with olive oil and that compliment sweetness, and that's when I thought of rosemary. And since I'd been daydreaming about making a rosemary cornbread lately (like ya do), I decided to incorporate a bit of corn meal into the cake as well for a nice crumbly texture.


From there I started thinking about things that go well with cornbread, which brought me to honey, and then I started to think about things that go well with all other things, and that brought me to brown butter. So, I decided to make some brown butter with the butter I had left, then pour it into a plastic-wrap lined bowl and refrigerate it until it firmed back up again and use that as the base for the buttercream. I incorporated honey into the buttercream instead of milk, which made for a slightly firmer buttercream but an ever-so-tasty one, too. Especiallllly with the cornbread-y cake.


To me, this cake tastes like the end of summer. Sweet crumbly corn, fresh herbs, rich honey, and brown butter all wrap you up in a very August-like hug. It's like you're saying goodbye to all the things you cherished over the past few months in the best tribute possible. So bake it up, take a slice out on the patio, breathe in that soft herbal air, and enjoy the warm summer nights while they last. You may have to share your treat with the bees, though, as I've found them to be quite fond of it, too! It truly is the bees' knees.


Also! A few updates, I did a guest post a couple weeks back for Countlan about the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. You can take a look at it here, if you're ever in the Southern California area on the second Sunday of the month, you *need* to go there. The furniture and dinnerware you'll find is completely unique and the prices are awesome. I, for example, came across a vintage 1940's style gas oven in pristine condition (still working!!!) and the guy was asking $300 for it including delivery. It was so, so hard for me not to buy it right then and there and store it in my garage until I actually have a real house to put it in. But I didn't have $300 in cash on me, so it made it easier to abstain. Sooooo yes, a ton of neat things there!! I was also featured in Sister Mag's July Issue under their popsicles round-up (the magazine is in German and English, so select the tab at the bottom right for your language). I was very excited to be included, and became even more excited as I was flipping through all the other delicious popsicle recipes in the feature.

I have some more collaborations I've been working on, as well, and will share those when they're released out into the world. In the meantime, please, please make this cake. It is entirely unique in its flavor and texture and is a true treat for the palate!



Ingredients:

Rosemary Corn Cake

3 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon vanilla etxract
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

Brown Butter & Honey Buttercream

1 and 1/3 cup butter
3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons honey


Begin browning the butter. When making browned butter, it is best to use a stainless steel pan so that you can see the color of the butter change. Heat the butter in a large shallow frying pan over medium heat until melted. Swirl the pan around a bit every couple minutes to help it cook evenly. Over a period of several minutes, you'll notice the foam at the top of the butter start to change from light yellow to a dark tan. Once it reaches the dark tan stage and the butter looks light brown and golden, smell it. It should smell nutty and similar to toffee.


Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before pouring it into a small bowl lined with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator to harden. Now, you have two options. You could keep poking at the butter while it's in the fridge until it feels firm but still soft enough to be made into a buttercream, or, rather than continually poking at the butter, just refrigerate it until it's hard, then take it out and leave it at room temperature until it's softened a bit.


While the brown butter is in the fridge, you can start making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside. In an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar at medium speed until thick, about 1 minute. Add the olive oil, cider, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the batter in thirds until completely incorporated, then stir in the rosemary. Evenly distribute the batter between 3 well-greased and lightly-floured 8-inch cake pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool.


While the cakes are cooling, you can finish preparing the buttercream. Beat together the softened brown butter, powdered sugar, and honey until a smooth buttercream forms. It is okay if there's little burnt brown butter bits in it, because these little guys taste amazing and add a pretty speckled coloring to the frosting. Once blended, set aside. When the cakes are finished cooling, you can layer and frost them with the buttercream and serve.







66 comments:

  1. I think I just fell in love with this cake. Feel like a little bee buzzing around it. Have to bake this, urgently :)

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    1. Haha, thank you so much Ondina! I felt like a little buzzing bee after eating it, too :)

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  2. this looks so gorgeous! honey and cornbread are such nice flavors together, but this is such a nice play on that rather than the traditional cornbread/honey pairings. I love that everything colorwise is so muted, also: perfect for fall. love it, Eva!

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    1. Thank you Shannon! I really loved the coloring of these photos too, very simple and clean :)

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  3. I love the way you frosted the cake! It's so gorgeous and your setup is so pretty and rustic. The flavors sound amazing too :)

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    1. Thanks so much Amy! I really liked the firmer texture of the frosting, it made frosting the cake in a design so much easier for me, I usually have a terrible time with softer icings. This one was a delight!

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  4. Beautiful. I've just discovered your blog and am blown away by the artistry of your food. It's quite inspiring. I was wondering if you might share what type/brand of cake pans do you use? I'm looking for some good quality ones in various sizes. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so very much, Tasha. That means a lot to me, and I am so happy you're enjoying looking around here :) And I always use Wilton's 8-inch cake pans unless otherwise noted. They're simple, affordable, durable, and they get the job done.

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  5. That is one of the most interesting cakes I've seen in a while. Love brown butter and your pictures are just so beautiful. Pinning this one.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment and for sharing, Asha! :)

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  6. That is one of the most interesting cakes I've seen in a while. Love brown butter and your pictures are just so beautiful. Pinning this one.

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  7. That is one gorgeous cake. And the flavors are unique with the rosemary but meld at the same time. Perfect as usual!

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    1. Awwwww thanks Angela!! I am glad you're digging this cake :)

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  8. I'm fascinated by this cake...the colors, the flavors...just pinned and now I can't stop thinking about it. Such a creative idea, I always knew there was an upside to being lazy :)

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    1. Haha, indeed there is! Sometimes the desire to be lazy forces us to become more creative with the ingredients we have lying around our own kitchen :)

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  9. This cake is incredibly gorgeous, and I LOVE the flavors!

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    1. Thank you Marie :) I am so glad you like them!

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  10. How do you think this would work as a cupcake?

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    1. I think it would make a mighty tasty cupcake, but I am not sure how much it would rise though. To be safe I'd say to fill up the liners 3/4 of the way and grease the top of the cupcake pan, so that juuuust in case they rise over the tops of the liners they won't be terribly stuck to the pan. Let me know how they come out as little cupcakes, that is a great idea! I think I'll try making them that way the next time, make it more fun to serve at gatherings :)

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  11. So pretty! And I love the idea of cornbread and honey butter in cake form. Sounds perfect!

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    1. Thank you my dear! It really is a delicious combination :)

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  12. What a beautiful cake! I love the rustic look :)

    Sues

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  13. This cake looks awesome!! I would love to try it. Is it easy to over cook the butter when you are browning it? Also, I'm so admiring of your creativity!!
    Ann

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    1. Hi Ann! Thanks so much! I recommend checking out this article from The Kitchn about browning butter, it is how I learned to do it and they go over the steps really well. The key for me is the smell and color, you want there to be dark brown bits at the bottom of the pan and it should smell nutty, but not burnt, and the butter should turn a warm tan color. Hope this helps! :)

      http://www.thekitchn.com/basic-techniques-how-to-brown-77018

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  14. The rosemary in this is such a fabulous addition! Lovely recipe!

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  15. gorgeousness . . . like a slice of summer!

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    1. Thank you so much Cherie! It a wonderful way to say goodbye to the season :)

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  16. I'm going to make this next week for Rosh Hashana! Question: I love frosting--will there be enough to frost it heavier than shown in your beautiful pictures? I'm always happy to make extra if needed!
    Sally

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    1. Oh awesome!! If you're a frosting lover, I would recommend increasing the frosting amount in this recipe by half, since I iced it thinly and only had a little left over after icing the whole cake. That way you can spread it on as thick as you like without worrying about the frosting running out :) Let me know how it turns out for you, and have a great Rosh Hashana!

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  17. What a beautiful recipe. Girl, aren't you getting married soon?! I mean, I get stress baking and all, but mad props for keeping up with the blog! You're blowing my mind! I love how you described the thought process you had for this cake. It's so funny the way creativity strikes sometimes. (Also, it's kind of frustrating...like when you go weeks without thinking of a single good idea.) But all your ideas are awesome! I'm so into this recipe. I'll be thinking of you this weekend. I hope it's everything you ever dreamed it would be and so much more!! <3 <3

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    1. Haha, thank you Brianne! And yes, I feel like kitchen creativity for me is definitely more of a "when it rains, it pours" type scenario. I can go days without thinking of something interesting to make and then I'll have like 5 ideas all in the span of an hour. Damn you brain, why can't you be consistent??

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  18. Dear Eva, this end of summer cake is a really special and extraordinary one and I love the idea how you came up with the recipe. As well I admire your photos. They are so carefully considered and there's not too much stuff in the pictures. Maybe I have to reduce the things in my photos too but I often can't stop decorating. The wooden cake stand is very pretty, so is the tea towel. Hey - I have this plate too. It's named Old Luxembourg, isn't it. I got the table service for my wedding from my grandmother. My sister got the tea set for her wedding.
    BTW I published my strudel recipes in case you want to try strudel yourself. Only as an inspiration of course! I'm very curious what you will make of it.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so excited to try the strudel recipe! And yes, it is the Old Luxembourg pattern, I just love Villeroy & Boch's place settings, they're always so detailed and beautiful. You and your sister are very lucky to have them, I only have the one plate from that collections but am hoping to collect more over the years, it's so lovely!

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  19. such lovely photographs! your work is always stunning, but i love, love these photos! just had to leave a comment... beautiful post!! :)

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  20. i know a lot of people who lack a true sweet tooth that'd love this. me, i DO have a fierce sweet tooth, but i'd like it too. :)

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  21. Eva, this is so rustic and beautiful (no surprise there!). I have yet to use rosemary in baked goods, but I imagine the fragrance is wonderful...

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    1. Awww thank you Irina! It tastes wonderful in cake-form :)

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  22. Wow. The fresh rosemary is definitely interesting. It's funny what you can come up with when you have a half filled pantry. Gpoing to try this one, I love this!

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    1. Thanks Lara! It really is great when you work with what you have and it comes out perfectly, let me know how it turned out for you when you tried it :)

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  23. Eva, this cake looks and sounds amazing! I love the natural color of the frosting. I wish I could make myself one right now. But there is NO way I'm turning on my oven in this heat wave! Hopefully I'll make it soon! :)

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  24. Beautiful. I am in love with this cake.

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  25. This cake is absolutely gorgeous :) your photos are ALWAYS beautiful. What a fantastic recipe.

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    1. Thank you Brandy! That is so sweet and kind of you to say :)

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  26. Recently made a rosemary cake and loved it. Love the idea of adding cornmeal. I may try that next time. Loev the color of your frosting too.

    Consider me your new fan :)

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    1. Why thank you Lail! I am very flattered :)

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  27. Eva, this was delicious! My guests and I thank you. I'm glad I made more frosting because I ended up using 9 inch pans instead of the eight inch you specified. It was still nice and tall. Also, it cuts beautifully. I have been nibbling away at the leftovers all day and each slice I cut was only about a half inch thick! My sister suggested pairing the cake with poached fruit--maybe apricots? Yum, Yum Yum!

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    1. Awww you are very welcome, Sally! I am so happy you guys all enjoyed it :) And pairing it with poached fruit is a wonderful idea, I will definitely be preparing it that way the next time I make it.

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  28. This looks spectacular. And just perfect for my birthday on Sunday!

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    1. Awww I hope you enjoyed it and happy belated birthday!

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  29. Just baked this for my friend's birthday, and it looks beautiful! We arranged candied rosemary around some tall thing candles on the top, like a wreath. We had a taste too, and it turned out beautifully! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe xxx

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    1. I am so happy to hear that, Georgia! It must've looked so beautiful, especially with the tall elegant candles :)

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  30. I was all prepared to make this, and making a mental list of groceries when I realized that I don't have 3 cake pans.... Do you think this would work in one bundt pan?

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    1. It would would work in one bundt pan, it will just take longer to bake because the layer is much thicker than if it were divided into three parts. Let me know how it turns out as a bundt, I would love to try it that way if you like it :)

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  31. i made this for my husband this august, here in portland (a fellow oregonian!!) and he loved it, and my dad, who was very curious about the ingredients (he comes from the south where cornbread doesn't equal cake) loved it as well! a new staple for our family celebrations, thank you!!

    here's a link to my photo of the final product on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/217710931660572/photos/a.228535273911471.46639.217710931660572/626506967447631/?type=1&theater

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