Veggies in my cake
Long before I decided to buy an oven, I discovered Chinmayie’s blog. And very honestly, her home-baked goodies, no-fuss pictures and intriguing flavour combinations played a huge role in pushing me to get that oven. I’ve seen enough and more drool-worthy chocolate cakes, fruit gateaux, ganache tarts and the like. But my eyes nearly pop out every now and then, when I come across some rather unusual and intriguing things on Chinmayie’s blog. A beetroot and chocolate cake, ragi and banana cake, chocolate chilli muffins, and this incredible sounding sweet tomato cake. The sheer idea made me want to try it. I’v been waiting for a chance to do it since the day I got my oven. And I finally made the time this morning, breaking my promise not to bake for a span of two weeks.
I am in awe of Chinmayie’s love for natural produce, organic food, healthy desserts and everything on her blog which sounds like the perfect balance of health, wholesomeness and yet doesn’t feel like its missing out on the fun. This cake is a perfect example of that kind of cooking. It’s cheeky, surprising and in case you’re having doubts, it is wonderful to taste.
A quick glance through the ingredients and you might think you’re setting off to make a tomato salad of some sort. All that’s missing is some basil! But trust me on this, once you try it, you will be sold. I followed Chinmayie’s recipe all the way, except for the addition of cinnamon, because I didn’t have any on hand, and substituted apple cider vinegar with regular vinegar. But if you have either handy, go right ahead and use them. I’m sure your cake will only be that much better.
What I used
9″ springform pan, lined with parchment paper
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped tomatoes (4 medium tomatoes)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp vinegar (Chinmayie used apple cider vinegar, but I only had white vinegar, which she confirmed would work just as well)
How I made it
I blanched my tomatoes first, by boiling a pot of water and dunking the tomatoes for 20-25 seconds, and running them under cold water. The skin peeled back easily and when they had cooled, I scooped out the seeds and chopped the flesh finely.
Then, I tipped the tomatoes into the flour and mixed well. This cake batter is quite unlike regular cake batter. It mixed more like cookie dough and was far from pouring consistency. It is clumpy and holds together like dough.
The parchment paper peeled off like a dream and revealed a perfectly golden crust. This cake is a surprise in every way. You expect it to be dense and heavy, but it is airy and moist. Crumbly, and dotted with sweet red bits of tomato, this one is going to be a repeat at my place.
What I love about it is it manages beautifully without eggs and butter, making me feel less guilty, and doesn’t leave you feeling sick with a sugar rush. The brown sugar is caramely and gives the cake a deep brown hue.
Next time around I’m going to:
- Ensure I have cinnamon on hand
- Try using Balsamic or Apple Cider vinegar instead of regular vinegar
- Chop the tomatoes in slightly bigger chunks
- Grind the brown sugar a little bit so it is crunchy but better amalgamated
- Try an option with carrots and maybe beetroots the next time!
This is the kind of baking I see myself going back to, time and again. Easy to find ingredients, quick two-bowl preparations — deceptively simple preparation, but with excellent results. If boho-hipster cooking isn’t a category yet, I think Chinmayie’s alternative look at baking could very well be a beginning!