Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cheesy Cauliflower Cake #SundaySupper

As delicious as it is pretty, this cheesy cauliflower cake makes a beautiful addition to your Sunday Supper table. Vegetarians and omnivores alike are going to love it!

For my birthday last year dear friends gave me a digital subscription to delicious. magazine, published in the UK. Every single issue had me making a shopping list and jumping in the car within minutes of reading through its gorgeous (virtual) pages. Many of the recipes are original to the magazine but sometimes they are tied to a cookbook review. This cheesy cauliflower cake is adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. <Amazon affiliate link

Why did Ottolenghi call something so obviously savory a cake? Who’s to know? But I love that he stretches my imagination with both the possibilities of cake and creative vegetarian recipes. All too often, vegetarians have to make do with just side dishes at a dinner party, which is a shame. I believe we can do better than that and today Sunday Supper is out to prove me right.

The first time I made this cheesy cauliflower cake, I didn’t have purple onion so, while it was pretty and ever so tasty, my photos didn’t match the shots in delicious. magazine. I baked it again when I was visiting my vegetarian daughters and their mostly vegetarian crowd of friends, making sure to use the right onions. The photos still aren’t spectacular, as you can see, because I was in a borrowed kitchen. But, never mind. The cake is fabulous. Perfect for World Vegetarian Day on October 1st or any Sunday Supper or dinner party, especially when you have vegetarian guests.

5 tablespoons or 75 ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling the baking pan
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, cut into 1 1/4-inch/3-cm florets (Mine weighed 1 lb or 450g)
1 medium red onion, peeled
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
6 eggs
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
1 cup or 125g flour, sifted
5 oz or 150g coarsely grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C and prepare a 9 1/2-inch/24-cm spring-form cake pan by greasing it lightly.

Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and press it in there. Cut a strip of baking parchment the circumference of the interior of your pan and press it in against the oiled sides. If it doesn’t stick very well, use some clothes pegs to hold it in place.

Brush the parchment on the sides with the melted butter and, holding the pan sideways, sprinkle on the sesame seeds so they stick to the parchment. Set your pan aside.

Can you skip this step and still have a delightful cheesy cauliflower cake? Absolutely. But look at how pretty it makes the sides turn out. Also, the sesame seeds give each outside bite a lovely crunch.

Place the cauliflower florets in a steaming basket in a pot with a couple of inches of water.  Steam, covered, over a medium heat until the florets are tender and will break if pushed with a spoon, about 10-12 minutes. Uncover the pot and lift the steaming basket out. Set aside to cool and dry.

Cut four round slices, each about 1/4 inch or 5 mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. We’ll use these for decorating the top before baking.

Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion is soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Transfer the cooled onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well.

Then add the flour, Parmesan, baking powder, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower.  Stir gently, trying 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. Once the thick batter is holding the parchment in place, you can remove the clothes pegs.

As previously mentioned, do try to use the purple onions. So much prettier - see photo below. 

Place in the center of your preheated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. Your cheesy cauliflower cake is best served warm but not hot.


Are you looking for some tasty vegetarian recipes to celebrate World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month the whole of October? Sunday Supper's got you covered! Many thanks to our event manager, Renee of Renee's Kitchen Adventures and our host this week, Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian for all of their hard work!





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