This herb and rose olive oil cake by Beth Kirby of Local Milk is both moist and crispy. Beth best describes it as being “one giant top of a cupcake.” Need we say more? Appreciate every scent, every texture and every taste, in every single bite of this unique cake as you allow this sultry sweet to uplift your winter spirits. Here’s Beth, the stylist, photographer and recipe developer herself with a few musings…

I make this cake so many ways – with herbs and spices, citrus juice and spirits, and various extracts and essences. I’ve never added fruit or nuts, because I prefer the crumb unadulterated, but I’ve started to wonder how peaches might fare. I bake it in layers, in bundts, in tiny little flower molds. It’s a house favorite, a backbone of my cooking-for-many repertoire. Why? Because it’s as simple as making pancakes, bakes up to have a moist interior and a crispy, golden exterior, and because it’s a blank slate for whatever floral notes or earthy spice I want to infuse it with that day. I’ve even subbed white wine that needed using for the citrus juice to good effect. Grand Marnier is good too. Maybe a nice Calvados and warm spices in winter. This cake is a hero with a thousand faces. Epic.

Herb + Rose Olive Oil Cake with Grapefruit Frosting
Makes 3 small bundt cakes or two 8″ layers


For the cake:
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
3 tsp herbs de Provence
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice (OJ works too)
1 1/2 tsp rose water (concentrate, like Nielson-Massey)
1 cup good olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar + more to thicken if needed
2 Tbsp grapefruit juice
1/8-1/4 tsp rosewater, to taste


Heat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease your cake tin, most especially thoroughly if using a bundt pan.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, herb de provence, and sugar.

In a separate bowl whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, buttermilk, rose water, and eggs.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir with a spoon to just combine, making sure to scrape the bottom. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter about 2/3 way up the sides of your cake tins or pan, and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on size of cakes). Cake should be a deep golden brown and a cake tester should come out clean when inserted. A few crumbs are fine; it just shouldn’t be wet or goopy.

Allow cakes to cool in their tins about 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooking rack to cool completely before icing.

Meanwhile whisk together your glaze. In a bowl, whisk the juice and rosewater into the powdered sugar. Add sugar if you need to thicken it to get it to a pourable but quite thick consistency. Alternately, you can thin it with additional juice or cream as needed. Spoon the glaze over your cake. And enjoy!

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