In broad daylight: Cauliflower and Broccoli Cake

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

serves 4-5

  • 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

  1.  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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.

7 Responses

  1. YUM! I make my mum’s veg frittata that is the same idea – veg, eggs, seasoning and a little flour – it’s so good and such a fab way to use up my leftover veggies!

  2. This sounds yummy…but question? Baking temp is listed as 275C/350F??? I know that 350F converts to 177C, and 275C is way over 500F!!!….so which is correct? 😉

  3. Hi Ele – ‘long time reader first time commenter’ is that how the saying goes? Your blog was my first inspiration to start blogging myself and now that I’ve been doing it for almost a year (such an old hand now :)) I can truly say that your blog is the most consistently well written and engaging blog I’ve found. I’m sorry I haven’t commented earlier but I was trying to put parameters around my commenting to try and contain it so was limiting myself to commenting on Australian blogs – however yours is just so damn good that I had to finally say hi and will now comment on a regular basis (knowing there’s always lots I want to say when I read your posts).
    This ‘cake’ looks incredibly tasty by the way and I love the pretty veg you’ve used.

  4. I hear you. I wanted to make this the moment I saw it too. I’m glad to hear it is as amazing as it looks!

  5. This looks sooooo delicious! I can’t decide which to make first, this, or the very fun surprise inside Savoury Broccoli Cakes!! Notice how I am being “good” ( ha-ha), by choosing recipes with vegetables in them? Let’s ignore the butter and cheese, and let me live in a dream, okay?

  6. It does indeed look steal-able. I think that you “borrowed,” actually; a lovely adaption. 🙂

  7. Hello!
    I just made this for dinner and it was DELICIOUS. Seriously. Our local Tesco’s didn’t have any polenta or cornmeal (the lady I asked didn’t know what polenta was) so I greased the tin and coated it with some breadcrumbs (using up the loaf I made at the weekend) – it turned out beautifully! We ate it with a beetroot, tomatoe and feta salad, mmmm, mmmm, mmmmmm! Thank you, x.

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