RECIPE: Rosemary Infused French Toast Cake
My herbs are just so happy in my yard this year, and I have an abundance of stuff to play with. Which is why I am still making my way through this old Provence cookbook I unearthed in one of my favorite second-hand bookshops downtown. This book has the coolest recipes I've seen, using all kinds of herbs found in Provence, France in unique ways. However, the recipes are written poorly. They feel like stories in paragraph form, and almost as if translated into English after the fact, making them confusing. So I have been playing with these recipes, refining and rewriting them, making them suitable for today's cooks this side of the pond.
This cake takes a long time to bake, as it cooks at a very low heat. Mine baked for 2 hours! Also, a spring form pan is best for it, but if yours leaks (like mine does) place it on a parchment lined baking sheet so you don't make a mess in your oven. The batter is very liquidy, because it pretty much is a giant french toast.
One thing to note, if your bread is not "dried out", cube it up and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it in a 200˚ oven for 20-25 minutes to get the moisture out. Cool them down and continue with the recipe.
Rosemary Infused French Toast Cake
1/2 lb. dried out white peasant bread, cubed
1/2 lb. dried out multi-grain bread, cubed
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. grated orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 quart scalded milk
4 lightly beaten eggs
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. softened butter
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
fresh chopped rosemary
Meanwhile, create the topping. With a hand mixer, beat the softened butter with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat two eggs gently and add them to your butter mixture and whip with the mixer. Poor bread mixture into prepared spring form pan. Next, take your butter topping and spread it gently on top of the bread batter using a spatula.
Now sprinkle your reserved chopped rosemary for the garnish on top to add some color and flavor. Also sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top as well. Place pan on the middle rack of the oven, and cook for up to two hours. Cake will puff up and top will be a light golden brown with a crisp, sugary top. If you want to speed up the cooking process, you may kick up your oven temp. to 325°. However, keep the oven at a gentle temperature, as the texture of this cake needs to feel like velvety French toast with a moist and tender middle. Unfortunately, that means a slow baking process at a low temperature. Let cake cool slightly once done for 10 minutes, then unmold the cake and serve warm with drizzles of maple syrup. Can be stored up to three days in the refrigerator. Just reheat when serving.