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Sage Cake

Every year I plant a little sage in my garden. Every year I wonder why. I only know one thing to do with it – make sage cake. It's a simple butter cake with a bit of herbal decoration. It scares some people -- they look up at me fearfully, wondering what sort of weed I have placed on top of their dessert in lieu of frosting – but most enjoy its simple flavor and pleasant texture.

From Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan and Julia Child.

1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt, preferably kosher or fine sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c sour cream or creme fraiche
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature 
Sage leaves, washed and dried 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Brush the inside of a 12-inch round cake pan with a light coating of melted butter, dust with flour, and tap out the excess. Whisk or stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together just to blend; reserve.  In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla into the sour cream and set aside until needed.

Put butter and granulated sugar into a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  The butter and sugar must be beaten until they are light, fluffy, and pale, so don't rush it – the process can take 3 to 4 minutes with a heavy-duty mixer and 6 to 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition.

Working with a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternately – 3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of sour cream.  You'll end up with a thick batter.

Arrange sage leaves on the bottom of cake pan and carefully spoon in the batter.  Smooth the top with your spatula.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, turn it out of the pan onto a rack.


03:12 pm - Mon, September 12 2011
Bernie Hunhoff said:
Tastes great! You're right, at first I wondered if it was legal to eat it?

04:48 pm - Mon, September 12 2011
Tina said:
This cake was so moist and delicious! Thank you for sharing this yummy cake at the office Laura! We like our treats!!
06:40 pm - Mon, September 12 2011
Rebecca said:
It was delicious!
06:39 am - Tue, September 13 2011
Katie said:
Such a pretty cake!

A couple of weeks ago I made crispy sage and brown butter pasta and it was yummy. And easy, of course, otherwise I wouldn't have made it. Here's the recipe link in case you want to use up more sage.
06:49 am - Tue, September 13 2011
Marsha Peterson said:
As you may be starting to realize, nothing that my daughter makes is boring. However, it is all delicious! Thank you for sharing Laura! Mom
06:49 am - Tue, September 13 2011
Laura said:
Bernie - I wasn't going to mention this, but it's been men in your age group that have given me the hardest time over this cake. I'm glad you were willing to take a risk and try it!

Tina and Rebecca - We are approaching Baking Season, so you can expect to see more treats in the future.

Katie - That looks simple and soooo goood. Thanks for the link!
07:02 am - Tue, September 13 2011
Laura said:
Ma, shouldn't you be working?
07:23 am - Tue, September 13 2011
Myrna Hunhoff said:

The cake must have been as good as it looked, since Bernie did not bring any home for me! Look forward to more recipes! I have tasted some of your creations and you are a great cook and baker!!
03:58 pm - Fri, September 23 2011
Nancy Heege said:
I use sage leave in chili and in many other recipes.
06:51 pm - Mon, October 3 2011
Julie said:
Love sage and South Dakota fall apples? Try these sweet potato dumplings with sage buttered apples
08:50 am - Tue, October 4 2011
Laura said:
Oh man, that sounds good. I especially like the part about increasing the surface area of the dumplings to as to absorb more sage butter.

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