I used to be very picky with food, when I was a kid. But I was picky in a weird way: I would eat veggies like okra and eggplant, which noone in the family except me and my mum loved, but skip easier-to-like stuff like cauliflower. I think I had a prejudice against cauliflower, I don’t even remember tasting it much. This was until I lived in Paris at the age of 24 – in the middle of an expensive city where tiny little euros were not flying easily into my wallet, I learned to appreciate this vegetable thanks to its affordability. And ever since, we have a loving relationship.
If you know this blog and my recipes a little, you would also know that I love making savoury cakes. My favourite ingredient for this kind of cakes was zucchini – until I baked this one.
This is a recipe by Israeli / British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and I saw it in The Guardian. It is a bold mixture of many fresh ingredients; apart from cauliflower, which is the star of this recipe, there are fresh herbs, ground turmeric, onion etc.. The result is a puffy, fluffy, big cake and even one slice of it makes you full enough.
The original recipe uses white all-purpose flour and in this version I use the same, however, you can also make it gluten-free using corn flour, like I did once. The taste gets even richer this way, so even if you are not particularly keen on being “gluten free”, you can try it with corn flour.
Difficulty: ★★☆ (medium)
(makes 1 round cake, 24cm in diameter)
(in this recipe, 1 cup = 2.4 dl)
1 cauliflower, about 600-650 gr (with the leaves and root, it may weigh up to 1 kg), cut into florets
1 tsp & 1.5 tsp salt, divided
180 gr. white wheat flour, or 200 gr. corn flour (for gluten free option)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
210 gr. parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 dl. olive oil
1 large red onion, a few rings separated and the rest coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
10 eggs, medium size
1/2 cup / 1 dl + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Soft or melted butter for greasing the pan
About 2 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. In a medium pan, put cauliflower and 1 tsp salt, cover with water. Cook cauliflower until it is soft. Strain and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and turmeric.
4. To the flour mixture, add grated parmesan, 1.5 tsp salt and black pepper; mix a little.
5. While cauliflower is cooking, in a pan, heat olive oil, add onion and rosemary and sauté in low heat, for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool a little.
6. In another bowl, crack the egg and whisk a little. Add chopped basil and continue whisking.
7. Add onion mixture to whisked eggs/basil mixture – if onion mixture is still warm, make sure that you continually whisk while adding it to eggs, so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
8. Add eggy mixture to dry ingredients and whisk or fold until all dry ingredients are mixed well with wet ingredients and there is no lump.
9. Add cauliflower and fold.
10. Grease a 24cm springform (or any other type) pan with soft or melted butter. Sprinkle and cover the sides with sesame seeds.
11. Pour cake batter into the pan, flatten the surface. Bake in the middle rack in the oven for about 50 minutes and the cake is set with a nice, golden brown colour. Let it cool down to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!