Food

Parsley Cake. Because you just have to try it…

We love using what is seasonal in the herb garden and what is in bloom on the estate. Basil regularly makes it into our sorbets and even our Berry Coulis has been Basilled. Thyme is another herb which just begs to cross the line. But what about parsley? In some of these parts, parsley is what is used to make the plate look more ‘gôrmet’ but not at Augusta. We give them cake…

PARSLEY CAKE

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150g (4 cups tightly packed, from about 5 bunches) parsley leaves
30g (1 cup tightly packed, from 2 bunches) mint leaves
165g (3/4 cup) good olive oil, plus more for the pan
290g (2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
15g (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons) cornstarch
7g (2 1/4 teaspoons) kosher salt
8g (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
4 large eggs, at room temperature
330g (1 2/3 cups) sugar

To make the herb-oil mixture, put a fourth of the parsley and mint in a strong blender or food processor, and blend it on low speed. Use a blender stick to help crush the herbs while the blade is spinning (or stop the machine from time to time to push the herbs back down toward the blade). Slowly increase the speed to medium (or a steady puree, in a food processor) and continue adding the rest of the herbs until you have added all of them.
In a steady stream, add half of the olive oil. Mix on medium-low speed (or pulsing, if using a food processor) until all is combined. Add the remaining olive oil and blend for no longer than 10 seconds. The mixture will look loose and stringy. Scrape out the blender to get all of the parsley mixture, transfer it to a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix on high speed until the mixture is very thick and turns a pale yellow colour, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the herb-oil mixture.
With the machine still running, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into a container and refrigerate it for at least 6 and up to 24 hours (the cake will turn out much greener than it would if you baked it right away). When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170°C and lightly oil a medium sheet pan.
Line the bottom of the pan with lightly oiled wax paper. Pour the batter into the sheet pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through. If the top begins to brown before the inside of the cake is done, turn the heat down to 160°C and let it cook a couple of minutes longer. When a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, it’s done. Let it cool in the pan. To serve, tear serving-size squares of cake into a few larger pieces and divide them among individual plates. If desired, serve with vanilla ice cream and lemon zest. Alternately, eat warm with butter for breakfast.