Rosemary Pound Cake Recipe photo

My Big, Beautiful, Rosemary Pound Cake!

It’s finally happened. I’ve let myself get talked into sharing this amazing recipe I only had in my head.

I had the rudiments of it on paper, but it was inadequate. You know. Lots of things I did differently than the person who shared her own version of it. Lots of changes I made, if I remembered. Lots of special things I made sure of, that no one could have known by reading the recipe.

Rosemary and me…

Cozy up with something warm to drink and let me tell you all about it!

Is rosemary the world’s most favored herb? I don’t know; maybe not. However, it is one of my faves, and in my cooking adventures it shines like a star. I love it so much, I grow my own so never to be without.

If you were to visit my herb gardens, you’d notice two robust rosmarinus bushes (alba and sativa) both in easy reach. I like to think they are hefty branches to guard the doors to my kitchen, but really they mostly supervise the frolics of the latest kittens.

They say the size of a rosemary bush carries great significance. Supposedly it indicates the strength of the woman in her home.

I’m not sure about that, either.

I have landscaped around my house with the useful, herbal plants, for over 20 years. My gardens have varied from move to move. There was the glorious stand of dill in a raised bed. For my birthday, once, a son helped me set in a semi-circular hedge of 70 lavender plants. And when we spent a short time in Mississippi, I created an entire enclosed convent garden featuring a beautiful nighttime white-garden section. (That one did let a few non-herbals in for the sake of the flutter-byes.)

But the four-inch diameter twisted trunk of the rosemary right by my back door remains my favorite expression of my love for herbs: Always at hand. Shelter to cats. Exuberant. Generous. What more could an herb lover desire in a true friend?

Rosemary in the kitchen…

We eat lots of Italian food; that is an understatement, really. However, even when we cook something as simple as a pot roast, or baked chicken, a lot of rosemary goes in. It’s the natural additive, here, to the point that when my son’s friends thought the lavender cookies I had sent him smelled like pizza, he just chuckled, knowingly.

How few guess the redolent education that is inherent to owning rosemary!

Now. It’s not as though a cookie with rosemary could not be astonishing in its goodness, but today, we are going to make a cake, a simple pound cake, and we’re going to make it astonishing. So read on . . .

Rosemary in a cake?

I’ve mumbled and fumbled my way through many a delicious pound-cake recipe, including this one, and the variations I offer here I have acquired on the journey. I lost the original recipe, even, and have had to concoct this current iteration from memory and by refashioning a few I had lying around.

Funny, it turns out to be the best. I think you’ll like the results.

In my opinion, there is nothing in the kitchen that compares to creating this cake. The satisfaction is complete.

Noticing recipes for cakes with a sugar crust built in to the pan coating, I dared myself to try it. Using butter instead of shortening or oil would surely add perfection to the immaculate flavor of a fresh pound cake. Doting on its plainness, I realized it would play well with a hint of rosemary and the playwright in me took flight.

This cake is not hard, at all and it will leave you speechless.

My first attempt was not impressive. The recipe I used to build this project had faults. I do not appreciate that when it happens.

  • First, there was nothing in the recipe about the absolute importance of having all ingredients at room temperature. I’m telling you now; it’s absolutely important if you want the ingredients to mix well, and if you want a high cake with delicate crumb.
  • Next, the oven time was simply wrong. I kept checking and checking until I thought surely it was burned up, but no. I’ve corrected the time, now, realizing any cake this full of goodness would need at least 75 minutes to reach perfection. Also, I devised a method for you to know if your cake is done (toothpicks and such just do not work) and I’ll explain that soon.
  • Finally, the directions were not explicit enough and I actually made it wrong on the first try. It did make a cake, but I had a time keeping it all on the counter, at one point. (Sort of a Julia Child moment, that.) I’ve fixed it so you cannot make the mistake I made and you can thank me later.

So the first one fell just a smidgen—it came out of the oven too soon, I am sure, and there was that episode all over the counter…. It was scrumptious and everyone loved it—especially the slightly-fallen-cake-lovers—but I was not proud.

I might be a bit too proud, now.

However, this cake is a hit everywhere it goes, its lovers stealing extra pieces to take home for seconds the next day, then later confessing and offering huge compliments to get back into my good graces. So I’ll make one again, soon?

I just laugh—it’s a life!

And now is the time to make this darling, since rosemary is blooming right now and that’s the best time to harvest, so here goes!

(Oh, and you’ll need a stand mixer and a Bundt pan or other tube pan.)

That Scrumptious Pound Cake.

For the Crust. (Have ALL at room temperature):

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) (Should be almost soft enough to shed oils.)
1 cup sugar (approximately)
the leaves from two 5” sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed well, and DRIED


For the cake. Have ALL at room temperature. I’m not kidding:

A mixture of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, poured into 1-cup liquid measure with milk added to fill the cup. This mixture will be divided, later.
1 ½ cup butter, not margarine (3 sticks)
5 large eggs
3 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon soda
3 ¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the glaze (optional). Have ALL at room temperature:

1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup powered sugar


First: Prepare pan.
Slather butter thickly over all interior pan surfaces. The goal is to create a surface to which the rosemary leaves and sugar can stick. Do not ignore the hollow core part of the pan.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves randomly over the butter. They will stick pretty well if the butter is very slicky-soft.
Over that pour about 2 Tablespoons at a time of sugar into the pan and twirl it around gently, to spread sugar all over, trying to keep leaves in place. If one or two rosemary leaves dislodge, it is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of sugar and spreading until absolutely no more sugar will stick. May take even more than a cup; that is fine. Set aside in a cool place such as an unheated room, or near a window, but not the fridge.


Second: Prepare the batter. (Pre-heat oven, now, to 350 degrees.)
Milk and vinegar should be well-combined, and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, gradually, until all is incorporated, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Add eggs to butter, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Stir and divide milk/vinegar mixture, putting half into a 2-cup bowl. (The 2-cup bowl is mandatory.)

In a small dish, combine baking soda with one tablespoon of water, stirring well, then add to the ½ cup milk in bowl. Stir well. This will gradually foam up to about one-cup size or more, so watch it, being ready to place a plate under the bowl, if needed.
Add vanilla and mix well.

Beginning with the flour (!) add flour to egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time, alternating with the soda/milk mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until soda/milk is gone, continuing with the rest of the milk/vinegar mixture until all is mixed in (beginning and ending with flour!) Beat very well, until completely incorporated, after each addition.

Ease batter into prepared Bundt pan or tube pan, using a large spoon to place batter directly into bottom of pan, and not disturb sugar/rosemary coating. Place pan in middle of oven in all directions. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes.)

The test for doneness is to notice that the top of the batter will crack part-way through the baking. When the raw dough that is revealed in these cracks, begins to brown, the cake is done, especially if the cake is pulling from the sides of the pan. See photo:

Rosemary cake, showing baking step: checking for doneness.

This cake is beginning to brown inside the cracked places and to separate from the pan, indicating doneness.

Cool cake for ten minutes, in pan. Turn onto plate to finish cooling.


Mix orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar to desired consistency and serve as topping for cake, if desired.

Rosemary cake with glaze ready to eat!

You can thank me now! 🙂

That Man! And His Incredible Gift!

I’ve written about this table before, twice. Here. And here. You just about need to read these, to prime the pump, so the rest will make tons more sense to you.

Otherwise, you’ll think I’m some kind of doddering old nut.

So, go ahead and read. This’ll still all be here when you get back. And I’ve arranged the links to open in new windows, so you won’t lose this page. You’re welcome.

Now, if you’ve read, or if you remember the story,

Let me tell you Chapter Three

Those of you who have hung with me for years may think you are tired of hearing about “the table”, but the story simply has gotten WAY better.

Basically, there is a table in my life that has not much monetary value, but lotsa nostalgia going for it. I’m not immune to nostalgia at all, but this thing rang all my bells and has humbled me to no end.

If it is possible to be in love with a table, then I was.

First, it is important to realize when I thought the table was destroyed, it was because it was old and I could not remember having it for years and years. Then, one day I wrote about it and later I discovered my son had it at his house. Wow. You cannot imagine my happiness.

When we were helping them move, it was so close to totally rotten we debated photographing it and giving it a funeral.

I voted a big “NO” and I won. Eventually the table came back to be mine, but finally in pieces. It lived, along with all its pieces, in our shop, for several years.

Well the other day, my newly-retired husband asked me if I wanted to see what he’d been doing all day, and you guessed it:

The table has been resurrected:

Sweet new old table

You can imagine my pleasure (but only if you’ve read the previous stories!) and the poor, simple table has brought tears to my eyes, one more time, and here it is, the way I saw it when I first learned it had survived surgery.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it was a sight to behold, for me.

Old table made newNow, here it is, newly repainted and pressed into service, again, making everything around it look in need of a Spring spruce-up.

Isn’t it like that with us? Our Father created us, and loves when our parents dedicate us to Him, and when we love him back and serve Him. But sometimes we get worn out, or worse yet, we get away from Him. Then He finds us and fixes us.

So this love gift has been given to me thrice. What a thing to make such a deal about, but really, it’s the love that has overwhelmed me.

Some days the blessings just come. Ever had a day like that?

Pink Toilet Paper Is for Boys.

Pink Toilet PaperI managed a house full of boys most of my life. With one girlie sandwiched in between them all.

I know boys and toilets.

There’s a lot about boys and toilets ya’ can’t help. Due to their being boys and mom’s being a girl, they tend to object about being checked on very much. Although I would barge in on them if I thought it necessary, and they knew I would.

And sometimes it was plumb necessary. No pun.

When you find incriminating puddles and sprays all over the bathroom they use—well, let’s just say it wasn’t their sister’s doings. Nope.

They might even all deny it, but they all knew I knew one of them did it. Or two.

If I tried drawing their dad into the debates about who would clean up all that mess, he’d chuckle and tell them to mind their mom. Not too convincing, he.

Usually, I made them clean it up, and then maybe made them go back over it because it wasn’t clean enough, and then when they were not looking, I’d get in there and get it clean. I mean, what’s a mom for, if she cannot tell the difference between boy-clean, and clean?

Most of the time, these guys were pretty good. Really. They hung up their towels and draped their wet bath mat over the tub to air out, and flushed when necessary. Not bad for a small herd of ‘em.

There was one thing, though, that they seemed unable to do: They never let me know when their bathroom was almost out of toilet paper, so I could buy more, so the whole house could have enough.

Mind you, they understood the concept of helping keep the grocery list up to date. They never failed to let me know when the cold cereal was low, for instance, and eventually they learned to let me know when their deodorant was low. They actually wrote these entries on the list, themselves.

But toilet paper? Nah. Not so much. Not at all, in fact. How many times does a kid have to humble himself by hobbling over to the door half-clothed, like a ghetto wardrobe gone berserk, and hollering downstairs for someone to please raid the master bath for a roll just for him?

Seemingly an endless number of times.

It is twelve steps up to that level, and down again on the return trip. I know. But I fixed those guys. Yes I did, because I was growing tired of it, if they were not.

I bought a package of pink toilet paper. When they were not looking, I put one roll on the bottom of the stack in their bathroom closet. And I waited.

At first, they did not notice, since the bottom roll in that stack was obscured by a stack of wash cloths. Eventually, though, the rosy truth came to light and the questions began. Why is there pink toilet paper in our bathroom closet? (Of course, their sister did not mind at all, although she also used that room.) How come we have to have pink? And on it went.

I offered the meager answer: They did not have to use it, if they did not want to. I let them puzzle on that one awhile.

And sure enough, when the pink roll was all there was left, they caught on: Tell Mom we’re out of paper. Of course! Do it!

Didn’t take very many applications of that lesson.

In fact, as soon as more white paper appeared in the house, the pink was returned to its guard post behind the wash cloths, never, to my knowledge, to reappear.

I Like All Words

One wordWords are wonderful. We need them to get the huge things in our minds out onto small things like paper. I like paper, too, and pencils and other small things that capture huge things.

Yes, I like all words. Even words that tell of bad things, like tornado —what an amazing word that is, rolling around in the mouth before it can get out, reminding of tortuous torment and torture—a perfect word!

I like teensy words that tell of teensy things. Think of chick“. The shortest short vowel with that clipped /k/ ending. So perfect . . . .

I like open-ended words that can change in meaning according to how we say them. Take no for example. Short and sweet and full of amazing meaning. When stated with strength it imparts an imperativeness that communicates authority and a sort of “final answer” fortress.

When screamed by a female voice, “NO-O-O-O-O!” it causes adrenaline to course through the veins of every hearer.

Great word!

Or consider that little scamp of a word: “if”. Heh heh.

Yes, I like all words.

They told me I have to pick out only one, though. January beckons and the new rage is to pick a word, any word, that will get its picker through the next year.

I don’t really like this new game. It reminds me of celebrity adoption. Everyone’s got a new word they never had before, one that will become a source of some amazement. Almost braggy, and about what?

I picked a word?

Actually, I’m thinking about how all the other really wonderful words are feeling left out, about now, since they do not express grand character traits or describe a multitude of to-do lists in one syllable. “Weed.” One word, one sentence, conveying broken fingernails, aching back, burnt shoulders, frozen knee joints, and another go for tomorrow.

Gives me goose bumps to think of it.

No, I don’t really believe in all this word picking.

So it’s really embarrassing for me to realize words are coming to me.

It’s not like when I’m writing. When I’m writing, and often when I’m not, words sort of float by my consciousness for the fun of it, for me to consider, a bit like a marquee sign I can mentally click on, any time I choose, and have fun considering derivations, true meanings, possible alternate spellings, misuses, etc.

It’s how I breathe.

No, this is more like when a bird flies over and leaves a calling card on your nose.

I’ve gotten a word.

Nuts. Didn’t want one. Sighs.

This happened last year and I actually liked the word and had fun proclaiming it throughout the land. Everyone was picking grandiose words of achievement, direction, authority, etc.; making me tired just to think of all the things everyone else would be doing during 2014. And I really am pretty sure I “got” a word, that it landed on me from the sky, and I liked it.

It was: “less”.

And I loved it and I actually achieved it. Perfect. I blogged less, shopped less, argued less—all the things that wore me out were just “less” and I think it did me a lot of good. I became contemplative, thankful, and rested.

I even ate less. Yay.

And really, a year of it was a little much. I mean, I dusted less. So you can imagine.

However, 2015 approaches and no one else is tired of the game, yet. We’re still passing this football around. She sighs. Okay. I have to admit it, here:

I got another word.

I did not want another word.

But it gets worse than that.

I think I got two. Nuts.

You see, while I was at a retreat this past September, there was this sort of river of blue fabric from which we could pick (as if it were a real river) a rock (an actual rock) to take home. On the bottom of the rock was painted a word. The word was supposed to be from God to give me direction or bless me or something, and as you can figure, I didn’t want one. So I sort of sneaked around during the word-picking section of the session and escaped.

Felt pretty victorious about it. And relieved.

However, as we were cleaning up after the conference, I got cornered.

And here, I have to explain that I was helping with cleaning it up, because I was on the team that arranged and produced the conference, and in all honesty I must admit: I was the one who introduced the great idea of the river of blue fabric with rocks with words painted on their little bottoms. I learned it from a Canadian friend who has written a beautiful book that includes much more information about this whole river idea, and I sort of blame her a tiny bit for my whole predicament, that day. (Just kidding, Bobbie!) 😉

Anyway, my co-host for the conference did not let me get away with my escape plan. She graciously allowed me to choose a rock from the box where she was packing them. So, from a box of rocks, which itself was partly my idea, with my own two hands, I deliberately chose a word.

And it was puzzling.

This word did not seem like a long to-do list.

Noble Rock

Noble Rock

It was: Noble.

Huh. Like sitting on a throne?

My ecstatic friend, however (She really is a  good friend) claimed it fit me perfectly and went on to quote Solomon about The Noble Wife.

Oh. Proverbs 31. It is a lo-o-ong to-do list. Nuts.

Because of my puzzled look, probably, my friend went on to give examples of how that word fit me absolutely perfectly.

I kept thinking, That was last year! This is still the year of LESS!

The more I thought of it, though (pretty varnished rock, truly a beauty, wanted to display it . . . ) the more I realized I could shape up a bit. Like make the bed in the morning? Get rid of the really ratty pj’s? Clear out the kitchen countertop? Dust?

Yeah, I could do it.

So it was with great ease that I planned to breeze my noble little self through all this word-picking business and arrive at the head of the pack because I’d had a three-month head start.

Competitive? Maybe a little bit?

Adopt-a-word was beginning to get to me.

Then I sort of forgot about the word. Then I sorta got a calling card.

A word.

It kept floating past on the marquee sign in my head, like a broken program somewhere was causing the marquee to display the same word quite often.

Too often.

“Organize”.

I began to consider it and to wonder. Okay. I could do that. I need to do that. Organize.

At least I have “less” stuff to organize these days.

Soon, I couldn’t wait to spread the good news abroad: I’ve given birth to a new word! Well, through adoption, that is. It’s a great word. Overused, but really productive-sounding and totally speaking of lo-o-ong to-do lists!

I was planning. A to-do list was forming.

So, finally, yesterday, the call went out: Announce Your Word! Link up! Share! Proclaim!

One word.

One. To inspire me as I walk through 2015. To guide my ways and make me a better person.

So how do I explain I have two?

_______________________

More tomorrow.