Rosemary and citrus olive oil cake

by Ed Smith

This dairy-free cake works well as a pudding with stewed fruit and a spoonful of cooling yoghurt (whether cow’s, sheep’s or coconut) for contrast, but is otherwise subtle and not too sweet, so particularly good for breakfast or mid-morning with a long coffee or calming, floral tea.


360g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp flaky sea salt
4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 large orange
1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
180g golden caster sugar
250g extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a 20-22cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and chopped rosemary together in a bowl. Finely grate the zest from the orange and lemon into the flour mix. Juice the fruits, combine the juices and measure the volume of liquid – you should have approximately 120ml. If you have much less, soak the fruit skins in water and squeeze again to achieve the volume required. Add the vanilla extract to the juice and set aside.

Cream the eggs and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on a medium-high speed for 2 mins, until light and voluminous. Reduce the speed a little and gradually pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, leaving the mixer running for another 2 mins once all the oil is in. Slowly pour in the fruit juice, then lower the speed again, gradually adding the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Scrape any flour around the edges of the mixing bowl into the batter, mix for 10 secs, then decant the batter into the lined cake tin. You could use a hand-held electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.

Put the cake tin on a tray and place it in the middle of the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 160C and bake the cake for 50 mins. Check the cake is fully cooked by inserting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake: it should come out clean. Return to the oven for a further 5 mins if necessary.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 mins before unclasping the cake tin, and leaving to cool completely, ideally sliding the cake away from the base and onto a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, and sprinkle with icing sugar for a touch of extra sweetness just before serving.

Recipe: Ed Smith from The Borough Market Cookbook (Hodder & Stoughton)
Image: Issy Croker