Made with a whopping 10 eggs, this cauliflower cake is more like a cross between a cake and a fritatta. But never mind the name, this “cake” is spectacular, “one of the best things you’ve ever made,” says Tim.
It’s another recipe from Yotom Ottolenghi which appeared in last week’s Guardian. In addition to eggs and cauliflower, the cake is dominated by strong flavors of parmesan, basil and rosemary. Because it’s Ottolenghi, the recipe is a bit of effort, but well worth it. The result is delicious and if you can manage some self control, the leftovers keep for days and days and make for uber easy lunches during the working week.
The cake is best at room temperature, so it would pack very well for picnics or hikes – I’m definitely going to whip up one of these for my next day-long ramble in the country. Pimpest picnic lunch EVER.
I also reckon this cake would be wonderful with other vegetables, particularly peas and broccoli. Next time I’ll experiment. But this time, the only change I made was to cut down the olive oil… the original recipe called for 100g, but as I poured the olive oil from the bottle, 50g seemed like more than enough. I don’t THINK it made a difference – with all the cheese and eggs, this cake was plenty rich. Or should I say satisfying? “Rich” food is all to often associated with “guilty pleasures”, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating this cake. It’s pure, simple and satisfying. Paired with a crunchy salad, it’s the ultimate light and healthy lunch. Eat up.
Recipe adapted from Yotom Ottolenghi’s recipe for cauliflower cake on guardian.co.uk. He uses twice as much olive oil.
- 1 medium cauliflower, 650g-700g
- 1 large red onion, peeled
- 50g olive oil
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 10 medium free-range eggs
- 20g chopped basil
- 180g plain flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 220g grated parmesan, grana padano or other mature cheese*
- Salt and black pepper
- Melted butter, for greasing
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds (or black onion seeds or plain sesame seeds)
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Break the cauliflower into medium florets, put them in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until quite soft. Strain, and leave in the colander for a few minutes to get rid of all the water.
- While the cauliflower’s cooking, prepare the batter. Cut a few 0.5cm rings off one end of the onion and set aside (these will go on top of the cake); coarsely chop the rest. Heat the oil in a pan and on a low heat sauté the chopped onion and rosemary for eight minutes. Remove from the heat, leave to cool down, add the eggs and basil, and whisk.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and turmeric into a large bowl, and add the parmesan, one and a half teaspoons of salt and plenty of black pepper. Add the egg mix and whisk to eliminate lumps. Add the cauliflower and stir gently, trying to keep some florets whole.
- Use baking parchment to line the bottom of a 24cm round cake tin with a loose base. Brush the sides with butter, put in the sesame seeds and toss them around so they stick to the sides. Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the onion rings on top.
- Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set. Serve just warm or at room temperature.
*Vegetarians take note – parmesan cheese is not vegetarian, so go for an alternative, non-animal-rennet-based hard cheese – Soster makes one, and I’m sure there are others.