Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel

Lemon Rosemary Cake Rosemary Caramel

I met Christianna, CM for short, the amazing woman behind Burwell General Store on Twitter and that was it, we were instant friends. I am fond of this type of irony- our blossoming friendship which is based on something old-fashioned and real and honest namely, the shared love of real food and recipes was built on such a thoroughly modern platform. Anyway, upon meeting CM, I loved the name of her blog, I loved the food she was cooking, her literary voice, and the real feeling of community she fostered. Right away,  she introduced me to Lindsay from Rosemarried and I was hooked on another new blog written by an incredibly talented and very sweet woman. When she invited me to join her recipe swap in January, it was just a little too close to the deadline, plus she hit upon my secret fear of frying with the fritter challenge.

The recipe swap involves bloggers creating our own versions of recipes from a funny little book Christianna picked up at a junk store, All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground. This month’s recipe was “Company Time Lemon Cake” which totally spoke to me. I love citrus of any kind, but especially lemons. Friends bring me lemons off of their trees, I buy lemons practically by the gross, I’ll make lemon marmalade, lemon curd, lemon syrup, custard, cake, pancakes, preserved lemons, well you get the picture. As far as desserts go, I’d rather have lemon than chocolate any day and I think they’re pretty and sunny and they smell better than anything. It was fascinating then, that I had such a difficult time deciding what I would make for this swap.
Rosemary Caramel
In the end, it was the name of Lindsay’s blog (Rosemarried) that set off my imagination, “ah ha! Brown sugar, lemon, rosemary!” I am pretty in love with this cake. You should have lots of rosemary caramel left over, but that’s okay too, because it tastes great with chocolately things or over ice cream. It also goes really well with a spoon!

Thanks so much to CM for inviting me along, I can’t wait for the next one. Mine’s gonna be vegan, for sure, considering I’ll be in the middle of a month-long vegan cleanse. Now, go check out some of these other bloggers! I think you’re going to love how amazingly creative they’ve been with their creations!

  • 6 oz butter
  • 1 ½ muscavado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz milk
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)


  • 3 six inch sprigs rosemary
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups of organic WHITE sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups cream


  • Preheat to 350º
  • Cream butter and sugar until really smooth and fluffy in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachemEnt
  • Add eggs and yolks 1 at a time
  • Add in zest and rosemary
  • Sift flour / baking soda fold in with milk
  • Add lemon juice
  • Bake 45 minutes in a well greased parchment paper lined 9” round pan


  • Boil rosemary sprigs in water for 7 minutes
  • Measure water, it should equal ¼ cup, if not add or subtract until it measures ¼ cup exactly and return to pot with sugar over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Raise heat and boil until sugar and water turns a toasty caramel color stirring every so often with a wooden spoon. Watch carefully as sugar can go from perfect to burnt very quickly. (process takes 5-7 minutes)
  • Turn down heat, and gradually whisk in cream.
  • You can add some of the boiled rosemary sprigs back in for a more rustic sauce or leave them out for a more refined one

Serving suggestions:

Top with thinly sliced lemons (or sweet lemons) and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Lemon Rosemary Cake Rosemary Caramel


  1. says

    I've been waiting for this post since you emailed us with the idea. All of my favorite things wrapped up into one recipe. I love the savory aspect of the rosemary, the richness of the caramel and brown sugar, and the brightness of the lemon. I would order this over just about anything on a dessert menu, hands out. I bet you could make a killer cocktail with the same ingredients too! Love it!

    • sabrinamodel says

      Thanks so much, Mari. I love savory in desserts too. The best dessert (hands down) I had last year was a warm polenta cake from Flour + Water served with corn ice cream and basil syrup.

  2. rosemarried says

    holy smokes. Rosemary caramel? Yes please. I have to make this recipe. This looks wonderful. Also, on a vintage geek note: love the embroidery in the background and the ceramic white bunny. I think we might be vintage kitsch kitchen twins.

    • sabrinamodel says

      Thanks Lindsay, I keep meaning to tell you, too, that you're the spitting image of a friend of mine (also a vintage queen). She's a fabulous burlesque dancer and a darn good cooker too! Thanks for loving my bunny (not really vintage). I bought it at a store called Therapy here in SF. I have little white sparrows too. The tablecloth is from France and was my grandmother's. I love it ever so.

  3. says

    Lovely! I am so glad to have done the swap together! This looks beautiful, and I can't wait to see your next creation, if you still want to swap with us! What a privilege to have you in the group.

  4. Ms. Joy says

    Your cake is absolutely divine. My mom is coming to visit an she will be delighted with your cake, particularly because of your use of rosemary. The lemon and rosemary pair so well together and it's refreshing to see it used in a a sweet like cake.

    • sabrinamodel says

      Ms Joy, thank you so very much. I hope you and your mum have a nice piece of cake and an even nicer visit.

  5. says

    Hi Sabrina! I read this earlier toay but had some difficulties leaving you a comment. Looks great! I was so intrigued by the rosemary caramel, like Mari beelined here several times before you posted. Love the approach and it really sounds delicious. Glad you are part of the 'Sisters Who Swap and Chef Dennis'… new name for us.

  6. Negar says

    I love that you went with rosemary. Such an interesting flavor. Experimenting with caramel infusions is so much fun.

  7. says

    wow!!! A rosemary that is just amazing! who would have ever thought of that!!!
    you did such a great job on your entry for the swap, I would love to try a piece of your delcious creation, great job on the presentation too!

  8. foodblogandthedog says

    This cake look so moist & delicious! Happily I have a huge pile of lemons and rosemary is the only herb on my roof terrace that seems to be alive.. The parsley and coriander are not happy!!

  9. Diethood -noun- The state of being on a diet... always! says

    Oh my, wow wow wow – that is stunning! Rosemary, lemon, and caramel… what a combination of flavors…that's beautiful! Thank you for the recipe!

  10. says

    I love this combination! I have been on a bit of a rosemary kick ever since I purchased a plant for Thanksgiving. Mostly I have been using it in savory dishes, but I am so glad to see this recipe because now I know what my first dessert with rosemary will be.

  11. says

    I totally agree with you, Sabrina: lemon over chocolate any day of the week! The photo of your cake is stunning! I'd never thought of making a lemon cake with rosemary but it soulds very tasty.

  12. says

    Wow Sabrina, gorgeous idea! I am always intrigued by lemon desserts! I am looking forward to your other creations with this group! Sounds fun!

    • sabrinamodel says

      Thanks Ilke! It's a really fun group. Next month I'll be in the midst of a vegan cleanse so the recipe should be interesting.


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