Rosemary Almond Cake with Olive Oil and Orange Zest



For years I had a recurring nightmare that I found myself in the Sienese countryside where Chianti grapes display themselves in Bacchanalian rows, inviting an aimless wanderer, me, in to taste a bite of their intoxicating deep purple fruit.

With a bunch of grapes ripped off the vine, emblazoning my hands with their royal juice, I feared the eyes of the landowners who were keeping a vigilant lookout for pesty crows and hungry trespassing Americans. I skulked behind the vineyard leaves, lest they catch me purple-handed.

In the fantasy the sunlight always came in from a 4 o’clock direction, which my therapist claimed, because the rays of light hit the “grapes” from an angle and not from a direct overhead noontime light, that this scenario must represent repressed Freudian urges that I have not yet dealt with and hence I was imagining myself in Italy.

Trapped time and time again in this nostalgic fantasy of a perfect Renaissance landscape, crisp autumn colors, a late afternoon breeze carrying lavender and rosemary scents on its wings, and a bunch of freshly picked Chianti grapes in my hand,  my anxiety was predictable and it was always the same:

What would be the perfect cake for this situation? ! ?

Finally, with this recipe, I can put the Xanex aside.

(And so can you. This cake might put the pharmaceutical companies out of business. It’s that comforting.)

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