Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake

rosemary walnut cake 5

The cake, a book and some hot tea; joy in simple pleasures!

I grew up eating a lot of home-baked vanilla flavored cake with no frosting. We didn’t have a cookie jar to dig in after school but we had a cake box that would hardly be empty. Ma didn’t need any special occasion, she just needed some free time in hand and our lunch box would definitely have a piece of cake in it.

Ma’s cake is still very popular in our family circle. If you were imagining a tall, fully frosted, beautifully painted cake, then you would be disappointed. Her cake was plain, soft, made with oil (no butter) and vanilla flavored. Period.

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake 1

Over the weekends, my brother and I would often bake together with Ma. Our tiny hands would be busy mixing the flour with baking powder or rub oil on a white transparent paper before layering it on the baking pan while Mom would whisk eggs and sugar. There was no electric mixer in our home. Her power tool was always her hand and it still is. Every now and then, we would look through the glass on top of the oven to enjoy the magic and run back to tell her about how the cake is growing or changing color.

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake 2

These days she doesn’t bake as often as she used to but even today, we never order cake from bakery. Any occasion, be it small or big, she will happily get busy prepping the cake batter while Dad would take out the old oven and dust it clean. Everyone in our family loves her cake and whenever we have a get together, the house once again gets filled with the aroma of vanilla and our evening tea gets more delicious.

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake 3

Few months back, I gave a tiny twist to Ma‘s cake. I added rosemary instead of vanilla! The inspiration to add rosemary came from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook and even though it surprised me at the beginning, I realized later that how beautifully rosemary could work on desserts. Arvind is picky about cake; he doesn’t like dark chocolate cake or any fruitcake.  Thankfully, this one, he loves!

The woody, poky, evergreen aromatic rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. It gives the cake a mild refreshing flavor.

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake 4

Just like Ma‘s cake, this cake also turned out soft and crumbly with crusty edges. And even today, I get tempted to lick the parchment paper clean, just like my little brother and I used to do as a kid!

rosemary walnut cake 5

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus extra to grease the baking pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust the baking pan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease the pan with oil and dust it with some flour.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Add lemon zest, oil and whisk again.
  5. Add milk and whisk again.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary.
  7. Pour the egg-mix in the bowl and whisk until everything is mixed nicely.
  8. Finally, add half of the walnuts and give it a mix.
  9. Pour the batter in the baking pan and add the rest of the walnuts on top of the batter.
  10. Bake it for about 35 minutes or until it's cooked through. Poke with a skewer or toothpick and if it comes out clean, it's done.


1. To get a nice volume, always use the ingredients at room temperature. 2. Ovens have different cooking times. So, keep an eye on the cake as it bakes. It may take more or less time. 3. Walnuts can be replaced with any other nuts you prefer and can also be omitted.

Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake 5

Did you enjoy this Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

You Might Also Like

Comments are closed.

    [email protected]
    June 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    What a beautiful loaf! the crum and this flavour really get me!

  • Grishma @zabardast
    Grishma @zabardast
    June 19, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Beautiful! Truly simple pleasures of life 🙂

  • Archana
    June 19, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Wow the cake looks awesome. I love the outside brown layer and beautiful combo too. Never done a cake with Rosemary. Nice to know.

  • nags
    June 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    what a lovely post. loved reading about your ma’s cakes. mine made very similar ones too 🙂

  • Rosa
    June 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    A wonderful cake! Like you, I grew up eating more cakes than cookies…



  • Arch
    June 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Loved reading that post…its so wonderful to re-live memories. That rosemary addition sounds great in this cake…

  • Vimitha
    June 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Would love to have a slice of that.. Flavorful loaf

  • nipponnin
    June 19, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Amazed by your photos and love to try the bread…I have rosemary plant in back yard… I better tell my husband about this recipe. I know he really likes to make it for me.

  • Spandana
    June 19, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Rosemary is a nice twist Kankana…. I would have never thought of that.
    The cake looks fabulous!!
    And I agree Mom’s cakes are always the best!!

  • Anamika@madcooking
    [email protected]
    June 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    love the color of the cake,rosemary addition sounds really great in this cake…maa’s food is always cherished however old we grow,we will always recall maa ki special dishes and her hidden love in all of them too :).

  • Rekha
    June 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I totally agree .. There is always a magical touch to Mom’s recipes … amd beautiful visuals as always 🙂

  • Nandita
    June 20, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    This is such a lovely post Kankana. It kind of made me all nostalgic. Guess mother’s cooking is always very special. The photographs and the recipes are just as great. 🙂

  • nisha
    June 20, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    i would never have thought rosemary would pair well with a sweet im intrigued. I love plain cakes any day, compared to the ones with frosting and vanilla is my all time fav.

  • Eha
    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Yes, this cake, almost soft bread, looks so right for a rest, a cuppa, as we say it here, and a book 🙂 ! Both the oil and rosemary want to make me try, Kankana!

  • Saguna
    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    Such beautiful photography and what a lovely story! I would have never thought of the addition of rosemary to a sweet cake! Looks amazing… I think I’ll have to bake a loaf 🙂

  • dassana
    June 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    the cake looks sooooo good kankana. feel like having it with my cup of tea.

    my mom would hardly bake and we would be treated to cakes from outside. an occasional vanilla cake made in pressure cooker would be a rare homemade treat for me and my sis.

  • Tina (PinayInTexas)
    Tina (PinayInTexas)
    June 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    What a lovely and tasty looking cake, Kankana! So perfect with my afternoon tea!

  • Alya
    June 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    looks and sounds delicious! yum!

  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie
    June 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I would happily pick this kind of cake over a frosted one any day. Lovely story to go along with a gorgeous and delicious looking cake. Thanks for sharing Kankana:)

  • The Ranch Kitchen
    The Ranch Kitchen
    June 20, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    This is my kind of cake!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Apu
    June 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Looks delicious! Great combo.

  • Shri
    June 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    They look amazing! I love the texture and combinations!

  • Debjani
    June 20, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    No matter where you are in the world, there will always be mothers who bake the most amazing cake that tugs our heat strings forever.
    I wonder how my Ma’s cake would taste if she had a KitchenAid stand mixer and a fancy oven. Probably couldn’t taste any better.
    Loved your post!

  • Jacqueline
    June 20, 2012 at 8:53 PM


    I’ve just come across your blog! Let me tell you – it’s such a nice place to be 🙂 A fantastic name with beautiful photographs and wonderful accounts from your childhood.
    I’m not a big fan of frosting on cake so this recipe sounds really intriguing.
    Look forward to reading more of your posts!

  • Deeba Rajpal
    Deeba Rajpal
    June 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    As good as it gets. So much food nostalgia and connect. Love the addition of rosemary…and a envious of your plant. Mine died last summer!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      June 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM

      Thanks Deeba 🙂 Well, I have no rosemary plant. I am kinda horrible at gardening, failed number of times! Just this summer, got some luck with basil 🙂

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    June 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Good twist with rosemary..cake looks so soft and fluffy. Loved reading the post woven around memories.

  • What Liberty Ate
    What Liberty Ate
    June 20, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    I love so much the rustic feel of this composition : the mugs, the wood, the fabric, the cake. It has transported me in a quiet and lovely cottage.

  • Vishakha
    June 21, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    The cake looks so simple and delicious and it’s actually making me want to bake! As you can tell, I don’t bake much but this one looks easy enough to excite me and I might just do it! What was the size of the baking tin you used? I have a round one and a rectangular one but I am afraid it might be too big for this cake.

  • Vishakha
    June 21, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    By the way, Love the new “summer” look on the blog header 🙂 Nice and bright!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    June 21, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Me too, first thing I noticed is the hat on the “Smile”! You draw that? You are very talented!

    Aw, cake + book + tea…and the quiet time… I MISS THAT! In my household, that won’t happen… maybe until night time…but then it’s too late to eat the cake. LOL. Kankana, each photography is well executed after lots of thoughts into it. I enjoy coming here and learning from you. I’m still jealous of your cake book tea time… 🙂

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      June 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      Thanks Nami. That hat is not drawn by me sweetie. I used Picnik to make the header and they had these inbuilt stickers. Unfortunately picnik has stopped using all these fun stuff in their software and made it a boring photo edit tool!
      I know the quiet time with kids around is tough but there is no harm having a cake at midnight 😉 I do that a lot!

  • Maureen
    June 21, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    This cake is something I would really enjoy!

  • Meeta
    June 21, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    A lovely flavor loaf! I love adding herbs like rosemary or thyme to breads. This looks perfect for a afternoon teatime snack!

  • Charles
    June 21, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    I don’t use herbs in cakes like this, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen rosemary used in a cake! I love the herb, I can imagine it must make a wonderful addition! Great looking cake Kankana!

  • anda
    June 21, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Wow, just wow! I’m glad you came to my website so that I can discover yours. You are so incredibly talented, your pictures and cooking are gorgeous!

  • torviewtoronto
    June 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    this loaf looks fabulous lovely pictures

  • Ameena
    June 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I love the love and appreciation you have for you Ma. I really envy it! And I hope that my little one talks about me like this one day.

    (It’s not likely but I can hope). 🙂

  • rebecca
    June 21, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    lovely cake u can play with kids i will have cake tea and read he he

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    June 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    This cake, a book and some hot tea sounds just perfect to me!

  • Deepa
    June 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I too have a fond memory of helping Ma in kitchen in sifting flour for cakes..Infact amar baking er poka ta onek choto bela theke Ma ke dekhe legechilo…
    Love you styling here. Rustic look, usage of cups, boards ..too good

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    June 21, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    I love love love the last pic Kankana…
    This is what I can relate to no fuss just pure simple delicious cake!!!
    Now I am missing the pound cake from back home 🙁

  • Joanne
    June 22, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    What a beautiful cake with such beautiful memories attached to it. The rosemary twist you’ve added is so lovely.

  • Ansh
    June 22, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    There is absolutely no match for a fresh twig of rosemary. Loved the write up and I do remember licking the cup cake liners as a child. It was pure bliss.

    It appears to be a cake that can handle some shipping ;)(hint hint) .. looking out for the mail guy …

  • Dolly Sharma
    Dolly Sharma
    June 22, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Dear Kankana, Wow What a delightful space you have here. Loved the name , Sunshine and Smile. As I was reading this post..I could feel the sunshine and I smiled as well. Awesome and beautiful presentation and clicks. Loved the walnut loaf cake.. Whenever I need a little sunshine and smile I know where I need to COME..

  • Maureen
    June 23, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    This is a cake filled with memories and I’d love to make it and maybe it will make memories in my family too.

  • Marta @ What Should
    Marta @ What Should
    June 23, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    it must be so good with rosemary. I like simple tastes and this kind of cakes are just the best for me.

  • ATasteOfMadness
    June 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Wow. This looks perfect. Tea, cake and a book sound like the perfect combination! 🙂

  • Maja
    June 25, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Amazing recipe Kankana!
    This is something I would really love to try 🙂

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    June 25, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    my mouth is watering now and I can’t get it to stop. the thought of having a piece of that cake right now makes me happy! Love this

  • Sihi
    June 25, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    What a lovely post! The cake looks yum!


  • mjskit
    June 25, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    This bread does look amazing! I can smell the rosemary and that with the walnut smells just wonderful! I’m pin this and will be making it in the fall once the oven comes back on! Great afternoon tea bread for sure!

  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    June 26, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    That is one beautiful loaf of cake. My mom never baked but I grew up eating a particular fruit cake from the local bakery. Even till date it’s my favorite cake 🙂

  • Patsy Bell Hobson
    Patsy Bell Hobson
    June 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Your Rosemary-Walnut Loaf Cake is my new favorite cake. I grow and love herbs, so I was ready to make this perfect cake to serve with fruit in the summer. Quick to fix, no mixer to drag out and clean up. I love that it is small. Your story is precious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Egle
    June 29, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Kankana, this cake is simply divine! Gorgeous! Can’t wait to try the recipe myself.

  • Camille
    July 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    I made this yesterday with fresh rosemary and brought it to work …everyone loved it!

    I put it on the top rack of the oven while I was baking cookies (I turned it 2 or 3 times), so it took a little longer and came out a little more moist and fluffy and less dark on the edges. I also used pecans instead of walnuts, chopped fine and then toasted lightly in a pan and cooled (mostly) before I added them into the batter. Very tasty – thanks!

  • Irena
    July 4, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Wow, AMAZING photos, pleasure to see. Wonderful bread, thanks for the post!

  • Balvinder
    July 14, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I am coming after a long time to your blog. I liked your sunshine and smile header for summer.

    I love trying different herbs in my cooking, but never thought of using it in baking. The rosemary walnut loaf looks wonderful.

Skip to Recipe