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Rosemary Orange Cake

This lovely Rosemary Orange Cake defies expectations in nearly every way.

Bringing a surprising depth and complexity of flavor that resonates like a meaningful conversation. The combination of citrus and rosemary herbs in this cake creates a decadent dessert that delivers a light savory essence in unexpected ways.  The inclusion of sour cream into the batter creates moist, fluffy layers that deliver the sweet and savory flavors perfectly, and are an ideal match for tangy citrus frosting that completes it. I think you should bake this and tell me what you think.

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Rosemary Orange Cake

Rosemary Orange Cake

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  • Author: Carrie Pacini
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 15 Slices 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian



Sugar 2 1/2 cups
Fresh Rosemary 2 Tablespoons chopped
Butter 1 1/2 cups soften
Eggs 5 Med size
Buttermilk 1 1/4 cup
Sour Cream 1 cup (8 oz)
Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon
All-purpose flour 3 1/2 cups
Baking powder 1 Tablespoon
Baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon

Garnish: Mandarin Orange Sections and Rosemary

Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting

Soften Cream Cheese 2 (8-ounce) packages
Soften Butter 1/2 cup
Orange Rind 1 Tablespoon
Confectioners Sugar 4 cups
Grand Marnier 1 Tablespoon (optional) or juice from mandarin orange


Preheat to 350 degrees

Grease and flour 3 round cake pans and set aside or nonstick baking spray with flour. Next combine sugar, rosemary, and butter in a stand mixer and beat for about 5 minutes until fluffy. Next add the eggs in 1 at a time mixing after each egg is added. Add in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture a little at a time alternating with the buttermilk (about 1/4 cup at a time). Stir in sour cream.

Spoon the batter into your 3 pans and make them as even as you can. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once the cakes are done pull them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes and then remove from pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Brush off any crumbs to prep for icing.

Next Cream all of the ingredients together for the icing in this order: Cream Cheese, Butter,  and Orange Rind until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth. Optional, add the Grand Marnier at the last.

Assemble the cake and ice the layers. Garnish with sliced mandarin oranges and rosemary. Refrigerate until you are going to slice and serve!


Pan Notes: I used 3 round pans. The bottom pan was a 9 inch round and the top 2 pans were 8.5 inch round. I used the 9 inch round as the base of the cake.

Icing the Cake: Assemble your layers on a cake stand or plate. Cut strips of parchment paper and place them around the base of the cake. This helps to keep the icing off of the cake stand or plate. When you are done icing the cake, remove the parchment and you will have a nice clean finish at the bottom.

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  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Dear Carrie

    Could you tell me what would be the texture of the Rosemary in the cake after baking?
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      November 21, 2018 at 8:44 am

      Hi Anita, The Rosemary is chopped into tiny pieces so you don’t see the Rosemary in the cake. It’s just enough to add a unique flavor.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Could you use this recipe to make cupcakes? If so, how many would it make, how much filling in each cupcake liner, how long would you bake them? Thank you! The cake looks delicious!

    • Reply
      Carrie Pacini
      February 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Hi Kaitlin, What a great idea! I’ve actually never made cupcakes with this recipe. Let me know me how it goes if you decide to test it out.

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