It’s no surprise that I take a lot of inspiration from the food bloggers around me. Given that there are so many of us, and their recipes are right at my fingertips (rather than all the way on the other side of the room, where my cookbooks live), it’s completely understandable that I turn to fellow bloggers when looking for new content. But in order to avoid the dreaded “recipe thief” label, I try to be a little clever when doing so. If I’m going to post a blogger’s recipe on Kitchenist, it’s usually one that I’ve adapted heavily, and either from an obscure or niche blog or simply from an older, long-forgotten post. I’m hardly likely to go over to the world’s best-known blog and grab a recipe right from the front page, am I?
Except that’s what I’m doing today. As soon as I saw the Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake posted by Smitten Kitchen just two days ago, I knew I’d have to make it, and fast. Not only did I have a head of romanesco cauliflower sitting the crisper begging to be used, but come on; it’s a cauliflower cake, and you know I like that idea. So yes, I stole this post from Deb in broad daylight and you know what? I’m not sorry.
Of course, if I hadn’t just admitted that, you’d never know. Not only does my spin on this baked omelette-like cake look completely different from its inspiration, but I’m sure it tastes different, too. The original recipe (adapted in turn from Yotam Ottolenghi), is made in a deep-dish Springform pan and feeds a load of people. I a) do not have a Springform pan, and b) only have one other person to cook for, so I cut this recipe way back. The result is that it’s not quite as pretty as it could be, and definitely, leans a leans more toward omelette than cake.
But looks aren’t everything, and I venture to boast that my version is more than a match for any other in the taste department. A mix of romanesco cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli adds some veg variation, while sautéed leeks and a good amount of cheddar and parmesan finish the flavour perfectly. Because of its edginess, this would make an impressive brunch dish, but it equally suitable for lunch or dinner, too. Just, er- don’t serve it for dessert.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- butter, for greasing
- 2 Tbs. cornmeal or polenta
- 2 cups small cauliflower florets (Romanesco or regular)
- 1 cup purple sprouting broccoli florets (1″ lengths”
- 1 Tbs. butter
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/8 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup grated cheddar
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 275°C/350°F and grease the inside of an 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin with butter. Through in the cornmeal and shake until the bottom and sides of the tin are covered. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt it well. Add the cauliflower florets and boil for 2 minutes; add the broccoli and continue cooking for another 90 seconds. Drain and rinse the vegetables well in cold water.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté the leeks for 8-10 minutes until very soft but not yet browned. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl until well beaten. Add the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and lots of black pepper, and whisk well. Add the cheeses and cooled leeks, and whisk again. Stir in the cauliflower and broccoli florets until well coated; feel free to break up any too-large florets with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffy and golden on top. The cake will feel firm to the touch when done. Let cool at least 10 minutes before gently un-moulding and slicing.