This recipe was on my to-do list for a long time. Parsley and mint in cake form? I thought it sounded crazy, but I was dying to try it and was mesmerized by the dark green color. I’ve made basil ice cream in the past that surprised me and wanted to see if I would have the same reaction with the parsley mint cake.
I did! The cake was delicious. The process started as if I were making pesto. This “base” was used in making the rest of the cake instead of adding butter. One thing that was different too was that it was baked in a jelly roll pan instead of a traditional cake pan. Once the cake was done, I understood why.
While the cake was sweet and savory, the flavors were intense (in a good way), so you didn’t need a large slice. I took it to work to share with my coworkers and it won rave reviews! We all brainstormed over how to serve it. We came up with ice cream, warm with melted butter, after dinner as a palate cleanser or just a small piece with tea. I am curious though to see how it would bake in a traditional cake pan with frosting.
4 cups tightly packed, from about 5 bunches parsley leaves
1 cup tightly packed, from 2 bunches mint leaves
¾ cup good olive oil, plus more for the pan
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
- To make the herb-oil mixture, put a fourth of the parsley and mint in a strong blender or food processor, and blend it on low speed. Use a blender stick to help crush the herbs while the blade is spinning (or stop the machine from time to time to push the herbs back down toward the blade). Slowly increase the speed to medium (or a steady puree, in a food processor) and continue adding the rest of the herbs until you have added all of them.
- In a steady stream, add half of the olive oil. Mix on medium-low speed (or pulsing, if using a food processor) until all is combined. Add the remaining olive oil and blend for no longer than 10 seconds. The mixture will look loose and stringy. Scrape out the blender to get all of the parsley mixture, transfer it to a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix on high speed until the mixture is very thick and turns a pale yellow color, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the herb-oil mixture.
- With the machine still running, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into a container and refrigerate it for at least 6 and up to 24 hours (the cake will turn out much greener than it would if you baked it right away).
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 340°F and lightly oil a sheet pan—ideally a 13- x 18-inch for a thin cake but 11 3/4- x 16 1/2-inch will work with a slightly longer baking time. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Pour the batter into the sheet pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through. If the top begins to brown before the inside of the cake is done, turn the heat down to 330° and let it cook a couple of minutes longer. When a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, it’s done. Let it cool in the pan.
Cheryl Vivian is a neurotic baker who came to D.C. via Detroit, Chicago, and New York City. She likes to get nerdy about baking, and there are at least two dozen eggs, four pounds of butter, and a quart of buttermilk in her fridge at all times. She doesn’t cry over burnt cookies, sunken cakes, or tough pie dough, but she will try (and try) until it’s just right. Cheryl loves to blend new trends with traditional recipes and believes that everything is better with a pinch of salt. Follow along on Instagram at @cherylvivian.