Roberta's Parsley Cake
Every week — often with your help — Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.
Today: Green cake is the new green beer. And parsley is the new dessert.
If we can put rosemary in our frozen yogurt and thyme in our cookies, what, if anything, is stopping parsley from treading over the line?
Maybe it’s because we’ve only just begun to appreciate parsley as a worthy ingredient — not a garnish — that we’ve kept it locked up in savory dishes till now.
But parsley is an herb as shapeless as all the rest; it just hasn’t made the leap in our imaginations yet. That’s why we’re lucky to have the Roberta’s restaurant gang, namely former pastry chef Katy Peetz, to do the imagining for us.
In its bones, this recipe is a relatively normal sheet cake — sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder. There are also 5 bunches of parsley in it. Nobody, to the internet’s knowledge, has tried doing this before.
There’s some fresh mint too, for lift, and olive oil, to give it more savory cred. And even though Piglet judge Tad Friend called it “pond scum”, what could easily turn into a gimmick and an eyesore works. (Don’t worry: Friend landed pro-parsley cake, perfectly deciphering its taste: “like a sweet meadow.”)
But, whether it works or not, we still have to ask: why parsley cake? The Roberta’s team wanted “a dessert that really tasted and looked like it came from the garden,” as they write. “Whenever there’s an abundance of green things at the farmers markets and in our garden, green inevitably spills over into our desserts.”
So the desserts chapter also includes a watercress gelato and a green granita with more cress, parsley, and celery, plus green apple and lemon. All of them strange, but all strangely appealing.