Tom Douglas owns a group of great restaurants in Seattle, Washington and is the author of several wonderful cookbooks. This is his recipe, it's a bit unusual ~ and very good!
Finely chopped rosemary, pine nuts and orange zest are flecked throughout the moist cake.
It's all topped off with either a glaze (or icing, as I did), that contains whole, blanched rosemary leaves and more orange zest. It's yummy!
Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Pine Nuts & Orange Glaze
One 9-inch cake
To make the cake:
Butter for the pan
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) finely ground yellow cornmeal. (Quaker brand works well)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted pine nuts (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (5 ounces) mascarpone, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup (10 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the Orange Syrup
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Orange Glaze, or icing
1 Tablespoon whole fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stems but not chopped
1 1/2 (5 ounces) sifted confectioners' sugar
5 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
For the cake:
Heat oven to 350-degrees (F), rack in the center of the oven.
Butter a 9x2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment, butter the parchment.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, pine nuts, finely chopped rosemary, orange zest, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl whisk the mascarpone just to loosen it up, One at a time, add the eggs, whisking after each addition to combine. Add sugar, whisk until smooth. With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients in two batches into the wet ingredients, mixing until smooth, then stir in the melted butter.
Scrap the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the entire top of the cake is a rich golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Usually 40 to 45 minutes. If using the toothpick/skewer test the crumb should be slightly moist when inserted in the center of the cake.
Orange Syrup: (Make while the cake is baking)
Combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves, remove from heat.
Allow the cake to cook in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Loosen the cake from the edge of the pan with a small knife. Invert a plate over the cake pan turn it over onto the plate (use a kitchen towel to protect your hands from the heat), peel the parchment off. Invert once again to another plate so the cake is right side up. Poke a few dozen holes all over the top of the cake, while cake is still warm brush it with the warm orange syrup. Repeat several times until all the syrup is used. Allow cake to cook completely.
Prepare a small bowl of ice water and set nearby.
Place the whole rosemary leaves in a small sieve and set aside. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, and place the sieve with rosemary into the boiling water to blanch for one minute. Drain the rosemary, still in the sieve, and plunge into the bowl of ice water. Drain and lay out on paper towel to dry.
Whisk the confectioners' sugar, cream and orange juice in a bowl until smoothe, then whisk in the blanced rosemary and the orange zest.
I didn't thin my icing as much as suggested in the recipe, and simply spread the top of the cake, allowing the excess to flow down the sides of the cake.
If you thin your glaze, place the cake on a rack set in a rimmed baking pan (to catch the excess glaze), pour the glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to drip off the sides ~ rotate the wire rack to encourage the glaze to cover the cake completely. Transfer the glazed cake to a cake plate while still wet.
Let it sit for at least an hour before serving. Depending upon the weather the glaze may set up, or not ~ either way it is delicious!
Recipe adapted from Tom Douglas