a late september hike + a cake

autumn, desserts, vegetarianFieldandForestComment

Granted I haven't lived in Utah for very long, but I feel confident in saying that each year there is a day, one day, where the weather makes a drastic and complete shift from summer to fall.  Saturday was that day, where we had thunderstorms and constant rain and fog (which made me both pine for the northern California coast and feel very at home here), and I found myself in the midst of it all, hiking alone across a mountain.  The mist which crept across the rocks and down the slope was dramatic and terribly beautiful, the kind of beauty that tightens my chest and makes me aware of how brief and small my presence is on this planet.  I took as many pictures as I could before my hands turned to ice, then drove down the canyon with Agnes Obel through the rain on a road tucked away in clouds.

Feeling that kind of insignificance has positive effects; it makes me subconsciously more deliberate and thoughtful in my decisions and more appreciative of the things I am fortunate to have in my life.  I felt so lucky to have seen the aspens changing color (something I love to see that we missed last year while traveling), and very happy to then go home and put on a pair of fuzzy socks and sit and drink tea on the futon while listening to the thunder outside.

And then I made a cake, because why not?

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
adapted from An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups olive oil (I used extra-virgin)
4 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
zest of one lemon, preferably organic
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
mascarpone or ricotta cheese, for serving (optional)
sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
honey, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

Grease a bundt pan with butter, then with flour, tapping out excess.  Beat the eggs for 30 seconds.  Slowly add the sugar and beat on medium speed until mixture is quite foamy and pale, about 3 minutes.   With motor on slowly drizzle in olive oil, then mix in the rosemary and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat just until combined and no lumps.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes in centre of oven.  Cake should be done when toothpick inserted comes out clean and cake should look golden and spring back when touched.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then tip out onto cooking rack.  Dust with icing sugar and eat as is, or with mascarpone cheese or sweetened whipped cream. Makes a rather large cake, enough for 10 servings, at least.