I love herbs in sweet dishes so I was very drawn to this recipe (see here) by the wonderful Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.
Heidi called her loaf “Rosemary Olive Oil Cake”, but as it has chocolate in it I decided to include that in the title.
I made the original recipe using rosemary and loved it … it was very subtle which is what you want, but rosemary is one of those herbs that is very easy to overdo which could potentially ruin a whole dish (or cake as in this instance).
So I decided to steer away from using rosemary and went for basil instead. Basil is a beautiful herb to use is sweet or savoury dishes, and there is very little risk of overdoing it.
Whilst I was at it I changed some of the other ingredients just a little to make the batter lighter, and decided to use all spelt as opposed to a combination of spelt/plain flour, but you can definitely use all plain flour if you prefer.
This is not a “soft and light” cake … it has body which holds the lovely green leaves of the basil in place and on show amongst the delicious dark chocolate. I used Callebaut dark chocolate callets (see here) so if you are using a dark chocolate bar (it has to be dark chocolate), then cut it into small pieces about the size of a callet.
I also chose to sprinkle the loaf with Demerera sugar to add a lovely crunch that remains that way for the life of the cake.
As this is a firm cake it can be cut into thin slices which would suit many people who prefer that, as opposed to having to have a thick slice of cake to keep the piece intact.
I made this loaf last Wednesday and ate the final piece last night (Tuesday) so it definitely keeps very well for a few days in the pantry. I do miss having a little piece today … so think I will have to make another one!
- 300g white spelt flour, or plain flour
- 120g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes, or 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 10g fresh basil leaves (no steam)
- 3 x 60g eggs
- 240g light olive oil
- 100g full fat milk
- 80g plain full fat yoghurt
- 100g dark chocolate, callets or chopped into small chunks
- 40g dark chocolate, callets or chopped into small chunks
- 1-1/2 tbls Demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan forced, and place rack into middle of the oven
- Grease and line a medium loaf tin ensuring that the baking paper extends beyond the ends to help remove the loaf from the tin – you don’t want to upturn the tin when the loaf is baked otherwise you will lose the Demerera sugar as the topping (I used a medium bread tin with a base measurement of 22cm x 9cm)
- Place a small bowl onto the lid of the TM bowl and weigh in 40g of chocolate callets or chopped chocolate, put aside
- Place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and basil leaves into TM bowl and mix 10 seconds / speed 4, put aside
- Add eggs, olive oil, milk and yoghurt to TM bowl and mix 10 seconds / speed 4
- Add chocolate to TM bowl along with the dry mix and knead / 20 seconds, scrape around bowl and repeat knead / 5 seconds
- Pour batter into lined tin
- Sprinkle over the extra chocolate and use a knife to lightly swirl the chocolate into the top of the loaf
- Sprinkle over the Demerara sugar
- Bake for 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top is a nice golden colour (there may be some melted chocolate on your skewer but you are looking for the actual batter to be cooked … it takes exactly 55 minutes in my oven)
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes in tin before removing to a cooling rack to cool