I’ve got a triffid in my garden. It’s growing bigger by the day. It’s so big now that it’s consumed one of the rose bushes and it’s on the march. It’s climbed above the fence line and the neighbours are looking worried. A wet summer and a dry winter has created the perfect conditions for my triffid to thrive. When it’s not menacing the eggplant, it’s sending enticing scents across the garden to lure in passers by. The triffid is my rosemary bush. Or maybe I should call it my rosemary forest. Anthony keeps asking me if it needs to be cut back. Maybe it does but why would I? It’s not harming anyone. Yet.
So, in an attempt to contain the triffid and appease my husband, I am trying to incorporate more rosemary into my cooking. It’s recently popped up in a strawberry shrub, roast pork belly, a pear and vodka cocktail and in rosemary sugar. The trouble is, you only need small amounts otherwise the flavours can overpower so I’ve had to ramp up production. Regular readers will recall that I hit the mother load of limes on a recent trip to Tin Can Bay. I decided to make a lime syrup cake as a dessert for an early Spring family dinner and knew I could squeeze a bit of rosemary in there somewhere.
I love anything with semolina in it so I adapted Donna Hay’s Coconut Cake with Lemon Syrup from Modern Classics II, substituting one of the cups of coconut for semolina, lemon for lime and incorporating rosemary in three different guises. This cake is a simple one bowl cake that’s easy to make and bake and as you can see, if flexible enough to incorporate other seasonal flavours.
- 125g butter, softened
- 2 tspns lime rind, finely zested
- 2 tspns rosemary, very finely chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup semolina (fine or coarse)
- 1 cup plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 1 cup sugar (or rosemary infused sugar)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3/4 cup water
- shredded rind of two limes
- small stem of rosemary
- Place butter, zested lime rind, chopped rosemary and sugar in a bowl. Cream with an electric mixer until light and creamy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each egg.
- Fold in coconut, semolina, flour and baking powder.
- Pour into a 20cm round tin lined with non stick baking paper.
- Bake in a preheated moderate oven at 160c for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
- In the last 10 minutes of the cake baking, make the syrup.
- Combine sugar, lime juice, water, lime rind and small stem of rosemary in a saucepan over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil for 5 – 7 minutes until syrupy and then set aside. Remove rosemary stem from syrup and discard.
- When cooked, remove cake from oven but keep it in the tin.
- Poke a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour half of the syrup slowly over the cake to allow it to soak into the cake. It may seem like a lot of syrup but the cake will absorb it. Set aside the other syrup for serving
- Allow cake to cool to room temperature and then remove cake from tin, discard baking paper and place on a plate. Any syrup at the base of the tin can be dribbled on top of the cake.
- Serve with reserved syrup and cream, which cuts through the tart sweetness of the cake.