while thanksgiving day celebrations are particularly special, gathering around the table with a group of good friends is one of my absolute favorite things about this time of year (along with snow covering the ground and snuggling under blankets). lucky for me, there are usually at least a few "friendsgivings" and my friends really know how to do it up good! 

we attended the first of these gatherings of the year last night, and well... i'll take any opportunity to make dessert for a group of people, but a friendsgiving gives me the chance to make something out of the ordinary! i spent some time looking for recipes and as soon as i saw this cake, i couldn't stop going back to it. i was curious about the texture that would come from cornmeal and a sweet rosemary dish, but more than anything i couldn't believe i had never thought to make buttercream frosting from brown butter. absolutely genius! 

if you've never had brown butter before, you're in for a treat. browning the butter caramelizes the milk solids and brings out an incredible nutty flavor in the butter. to me - it's pure heaven! 

I used some whole wheat pastry flour to add a little heartiness to the cake, but you can use 3 cups of white flour if you prefer. 

this recipe was just so slightly adapted from adventures in cooking


2 cups all purpose white flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 

3/4 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon vanilla etxract

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

for the frosting: 

1 1/3 cup butter

3 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons honey


first things first, you'll need to brown the butter. if you've never made brown butter before, check out this video from America's Test Kitchen (they're the experts!). once the butter is nicely browned and smelling deliciously nutty, transfer it into a small bowl lined with parchment paper and set it in the freezer so it will harden. (after doing this, i couldn't help but wonder why i don't keep brown butter in the fridge at all times!)

while the butter is cooling, get started on the cake. 

first, you'll want to mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, including the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. whisk them to combine thoroughly and remove any clumps. 

in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, with a hand mixer, or some strong arms - mix the eggs and sugar until thick, about one minute in a stand mixer. next, add the olive oil, apple cider, and vanilla and mix to combine. add the flour mixture in thirds, allowing it to incorporate completely in between each addition. Once all the flour is incorporated, stir in the chopped rosemary. 

divide the batter evenly between three buttered and floured eight inch cake pans.

bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. set pans on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then turn cakes out onto rack to cool completely. 

while the cakes are baking, start making the frosting. remove the butter from the freezer and let it soften. when the butter is soft, whip the powdered sugar and honey with the butter until smooth. then take a taste - it's delicious! 

when the cakes are cooled and the frosting is ready, frost and assemble the cake. garnish with a sprig of rosemary.