I made this cake a few weeks ago for a celebration. A celebration of something I've wanted and worked towards for a very, very, very long time. My dearest friends, I am writing a cookbook! And I could not be more ecstatic about it!! A Chicken In Every Pot is set for a fall 2016 publishing date with the wonderful Haughton Mifflin Harcourt. The deepest thanks goes to my literary agent, Holly Smith, and to my Editor, Justin Schwartz for helping bring this to fruition. I'll be working on this for a good long while, but I'll still be posting here of course, just perhaps not quite as often at the end of this year and the beginning of the new one. But it will all be for a delicious, savory cookbook that I know you will all love, so I hope you'll forgive me for any gaps in posts, however long or short they may be. And I also want to thank you all for your readership, kind words, and comments. Without your continued support I wouldn't even be writing this book.
Now, to the cake! I've always loved the flavor of oregano and thought its limitation to savory uses was a bit of a waste, so I decided to incorporate it into my celebratory cake along with some honey, lemon juice, and olive oil. And to cut through the herbal cake, I used a wonderfully sweet blackberry buttercream made from the ripest, freshest blackberries. The result was a cake that was wonderfully fragrant, sweet without being cloyingly so, and moist. The flavor was absolutely unique, unlike any cake I've ever tasted, and in the best way possible. Perfect for a very special celebration like this one.
Oregano Honey Cake
3 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla etxract
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup Kent's Beauty ornamental oregano, optional garnish
4 tablespoons crushed ripe blackberries
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar, and honey at medium speed until thick, about 1 minute. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the batter in thirds until completely incorporated, then stir in the oregano. 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 completely.
While the cakes are baking, make the frosting. To make the frosting, bring the crushed blackberries and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the granulated sugar and salt, lower the heat, and allow the syrup to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator until the syrup cools to room temperature.
Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer and add the powdered sugar, mixing until thoroughly combined. Add the butter, and mix until blended. Then add the cream of tartar and mix until the frosting is whipped-looking, about 2 minutes.
Frost the cake with the icing and top with the ornamental oregano. Serve immediately.