La Brea's Little Olive Cakes w/ Rosemary

You already know that I am obsessed with olive oil cakes.
Nothing has changed.

This was the easiest version of an olive oil cake I have ever made, and really moist and fabulous.
The photos are not doing this recipe justice.

If you are familiar with Nancy Silverton, then you know about La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles.

She started out years ago baking breads and pastries, and now is a big wig in the food world.
She co-owns Mozza Restaurant (also in California) with Mario Batali, specializing in pizza and anything made with Italian cheese (hence the word "mozza", short for mozzarella).

This recipe can be found in both the Mozza Cookbook, and the La Brea Pastries Cookbook.

It says it makes 32 tea cakes.
Really? Well, that must be if you make them in mini muffin tins.

The recipe calls for using "tea cake pans" (not sure what that is actually, but I do know that I don't have them), but I imagine you can bake them in muffin tins, then you might get about 15 muffins.

I opted for baking the cakes in these fancy 6" round paper cake molds that I bought and never used.
The recipe yielded 6 small cakes, 2 servings per each little cake. If you do the math: that's 12 servings.

Once in a while I get an email from a reader who says their olive oil cake just didn't come out right.
I ask what kind of olive oil they used and the answer is "whatever I found on sale at Home Goods/TJ Maxx".

ding. wrong answer.

The secret to a great olive oil cake is really in the olive oil you use.

Some olive oils just don't taste good, like wine. Only use wine in a recipe that you would drink. Same goes for olive oil.

You don't want a grassy, strong flavored olive oil, but a good simple Italian everyday oil.

I have always said I use Colavita brand for baking, since it's mild in flavor and is not pricey, like some other Italian olive oils. (I would save the Frantoia or the $45. French bottle for salads).

The recipe calls for an orange, but if you don't have one, go ahead and use a lemon.
It's all good.

Slice these little cakes into quarters (or eat a whole one yourself!).

The restaurant serves these w/ olive oil gelato.
Where can I get some of that???

These would be great for brunch, and they are excellent served warm.

Little Olive Oil Cakes w/ Rosemary (adapted from Mozza cookbook): (original recipe says it makes 32 tea cakes.....I made six 6" round cakes)

2 tbsp of fresh rosemary needles, chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached pastry flour (I used regular all purpose flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 - 1 1/2 cups of olive oil (*see my notes at the bottom)
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I snuck in half & half, cause I had it!!)
zest of a whole orange or lemon
3 large eggs

It's pretty simple.

Just whisk the dry ingredients together, then beat in the wet ingredients.
Add the chopped rosemary and orange zest.

The original recipe wants you to preheat the tea cake pan first (like pop-overs), but I did not bother.

I just filled my special non-stick paper liners with the batter.
Fill to the brim.

For small cakes or muffins, bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden in a 350F oven.

We LOVED these about an hour after baking, while still slightly warm.

I bet with the olive oil gelato these would be ridiculous, but I'm not going there.

* Follow Up: I made these cakes again, this time using jumbo disposable (Reynolds) muffin tins. It made 10 extra large muffins. ** I also decreased the olive oil from 1.5 cups (as the original recipe states), to 1 cup, and the cakes were still super moist.

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Those look fabulous and your last photo will be pinned. YUM.

Julie said…
I live in Calif so Mozza and La Brea are amazing. I have all of Nancy's cookbooks.......I can't believe I haven't tried this recipe yet! I will bake them in muffin tins, since I don't have tea cake pans either.

Thanks, Julie
Anonymous said…
Tea cakes are little cupcakes. But instead of being in papers, they are baked in pans with multiple shaped cups (Martha Stewart's at Macy's has 30 cups). The cakes are turned out and served with the shaped side up.

All of this sounds rather fussy-looking for a rather simple, earthy cake.

Anonymous said…
The 'crumb', as the foodies all call it, of your little Stacey olive oil cakes looks just like that of a rich, moist cornbread. The decorative sprigs of rosemary are adorable.
Christine said…
These look great! I made a olive oil cake for Mothers Day and my mom made olive oil ice cream in her ice cream machine. It was a great match. I'll def be trying out this recipe :)
I'm definitely going to try this, I'm now hooked on olive oil cakes!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Love this cake. I can only imagine how much flavor the orange/lemon must impart with the rosemary. By the way, Bent Spoon sometimes has olive oil ice cream.
kim said…
at otto, of course! sometimes even at the washington square cart.
Unknown said…
I wonder if almond flour would work?
Judi C, said…
Really a question. My husband and I are on low carb diets. Could the olive oil cakes use almond or coconut flour in place of the wheat? I would use Splenda in place of the sugar as well. I know there would be no gluten with the substitution so the cakes would not be as light, but maybe just as good tasting. What are your thoughts?
Stacey Snacks said…
I don't mean to be so blunt but the answer is no no and no try a different recipe in a gluten-free cookbook this is all about the olive oil and I don't do the Splenda thing as you know

This recipe is not to be messed with its very simple and all about the ingredients
Running out to find some rosemary. I just must have these today!
Kate said…
Hmmm... never tried an OO cake. You said you loved them an hour after baking while they were warm. Our historical society puts on a "Victorian" tea in December. Do you think these would be just as great made a day ahead, and would you rewarm them before serving? I am trying to formulate a varied menu ahead of the flurry ;)
Joanne said…
I love sweet treats that have kind of a savory twist! These sound so good.
Gayle said…
Made these in muffin tins this weekend and they were a big hit!
oui Chef said…
"Ding...wrong answer"....I like your style.