Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake


We hope you enjoy our recipe that features rosemary, the plant we showcased as part of our Nature’s Kitchen: Mediterranean Herbs series on social media this February! Get our recipe for Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil cake here.

Rosemary is associated with remembrance, fidelity, and love – the perfect plant to highlight around Valentine’s Day. Romans wore sprigs of rosemary in their hair to improve their memory, and Shakespeare mentioned rosemary in 5 of his plays. Brides also wore rosemary as a symbol of happiness, loyalty, and love.

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean: Southern Europe and Northern Africa. It’s typically found in dry, rocky earth, and hilly or coastal areas. When you plant rosemary at home, make sure it’s in a well-drained sand or gravel mix. It’s best grown outdoors.



Rosemary can grow 3-6 feet tall. The best time for harvesting is right before it blooms. Pollinators love its violet flowers! You’ll see bees happily buzzing around your rosemary plant when it’s in bloom. This plant produces a yellow-green dye, as well as oils used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and aid memory. It’s also absolutely delicious!


Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients –

  • 2 large Meyer lemons (2 Tbsp lemon zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup white sugar (for cake) + 1/2 cup (for candied peels)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus oat milk and/or lemon juice until desired icing texture is reached

Instructions – 

  1. Wash the lemons and cut the peels into thin strips. Boil water in a saucepan and add the lemon peels. Boil for 10 minutes, then dump the water and boil twice more in 10-minute increments, swapping out the water each time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Mix 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed with 6 Tbsp water to make flax “eggs”.
  4. Mix 1 cup white sugar in a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp lemon zest. Rub this together with your fingers.
  5. Then, to the same bowl, add 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and your flax eggs. Whisk together. Add 1 cup almond flour and whisk again.
  6. At this point, the peels may be done with their 3 water boils. Add water to the pot again (1/2-1 cup), but this time, add 1/2 cup white sugar as well. Boil the peels in the sugar syrup for about 15-20mins.
  7. Chop 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary. Add this to your wet ingredients.
  8. In a separate bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp baking powder.
  9. Pour the flour, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add to a parchment-lined loaf pan (about 5×9″). Bake for 45-50 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Once the peels are done boiling in the sugar syrup, put them on a wire rack to cool. Lay a sheet of parchment underneath so the syrup doesn’t get too messy.
  11. While the cake bakes, make icing by mixing 1/2 cup powdered sugar with lemon juice and/or oat milk until a thin consistency is reached.
  12. After the cake comes out of the oven, pour icing on top. Decorate with candied lemon peels and enjoy!

Rosemary watercolor art by Piper Begler (piperbegler@g.ucla.edu).

This recipe was adapted from Carolina Gelen’s Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe.

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