ottolenghi's cauliflower cake

As I was leaving work last week a colleague mentioned she'd made Ottolenghi's cauliflower cake for a friend who was going through a bad patch. 

The recipe for this savoury cake is in Plenty More and although I'd bookmarked the recipe in my copy some time ago, I'd never made it. Cauliflowers are in season at the moment so I bought one on Saturday and made my version of the cake.

I make Helen Goh's broccoli cake quite often and the technique is quite similar. There are a few steps involved in making the cake so I prepared the vegetables and onion and rosemary infused oil on Saturday and baked the cake on Sunday. 

A few people had mentioned in their reviews that the cake was a bit bland so I made sure I seasoned the mix well and added some garlic to the onion because most savoury things taste even better with a bit of garlic. I also halved the recipe to make a 17cm cake.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, 60 gm eggs and unsalted butter unless specified. My oven is a conventional gas oven, not fan forced, so you may have to lower your oven temperature by 20°C.

Caulifower Cake, adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty More. Makes a 17cm cake.
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
1½ tsp white sesame seeds
½ tsp black sesame seeds 
½ small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 2 cm florets - 250g 
1 small red onion, peeled - 85g 
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
40 mls olive oil
¼ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
3 large eggs
75g coarsely grated Parmesan or another aged cheese 
7g basil leaves, chopped
60g plain flour, sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line the base and sides of a 17cm springform cake pan with baking paper and brush the sides with melted butter. Mix together the white and black sesame seeds and sprinkle them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water. Simmer for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and cooked through. Drain in a colander and set side to cool.. 

Cut 4 round slices 5-mm thick off one end of the red onion and set aside. Chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the garlic, the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the cooled onions in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs, parmesan cheese and the basil and mix well. Then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, ½ tsp salt, pepper to taste and mix until you have a smooth batter. Gently fold in the cooked and cooled cauliflower florets and mix lightly to thoroughly coat. Be careful not to break up the florets too much.

Spoon the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 50 - 55 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.

I served mine as a lunch dish with a simple salad and like all Ottolenghi recipes, it was delicious. I can definitely see I'll be making this again quite soon.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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