At this stage of the year, if you’re like me, you might be getting a little over tomatoes. It’s at times like this we need to get a bit creative so that what’s left out there doesn’t go to waste.
I was staring at my still heavily laden bushes the other day, thinking about all of the things I have done with tomatoes, sweet and savory, when I had an epiphany. I though “pumpkin cake, carrot cake, zucchini cake… TOMATO CAKE!!”. Why not?”
So, I put my thinking cap on. I thought that it was best to experiment with my most subtle varieties just in case it tasted a bit on the savory side. For all the tomato nerds out there the varieties I used were: yellow sausage (big tick) and gold dust (not meaty enough but it I added more as I went). Having made it now I would be quite confident to use any medium–large meaty tomato. Green tomatoes might be very nice.
7 people have now tried my cake. Everyone enjoyed it and nobody yet has detected the tomato.
I still have some tweaking to do but I think you’ll like this one. If you like carrot cake or banana and walnut cake, this is for you. This is what I came up with:
Tomato Spice Cake
4 or 5 medium-large tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed and pureed. You’ll need 250ml of tomato puree.
1 tablespoon vinegar
150g walnuts (or a fist full or whatever you have on hand or none at all). I had walnuts so that’s what I used. You could use any other soft nut macadamias, brazil nuts etc.
½ cup plain flour (to mix with the walnuts)
1 cup plain flour, twice sifted
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ – 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom – depends on your taste. Don’t add it if you don’t like it.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 eggs (5 if very small)
1 ¼ cups brown sugar, lightly packed.
2 teaspoons of orange, lemon or lime rind. I used orange.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
Line and grease a 22cm spring form cake tin. Pre-heat oven to 160°C.
First you need to peel the tomatoes. If you have never done that before: cut a cross into the bottom of each tomato – the end opposite the core. Then into a pot of boiling water add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Remove and place immediately into a bowl of cold water. The skins will begin to peel away themselves. You’ll need to handle them gently. Cut each tomato in half and with a teaspoon scrape out the seeds. Puree the remaining pulp, mix in your vinegar and put aside.
Place nuts and ½ cup of flour into the food processor and blend. Don’t go too long as you’ll want the nuts to remain in small pieces.
Sift together the remaining cup of flour, bi-carb soda, salt and spices. Combine this with the nut mixture.
In your mixing bowl beat the eggs until they are pale and have thickened. Whisk in brown sugar. By this stage the mix should be nice and thick.
Now, add the remaining ingredients, a little at a time – dry ingredients, then the puree, some more dry, then more puree and so on until all are incorporated. Lastly mix in the butter.
Pour into the spring form tin and bake for 1hour.
Keep an eye on the cake towards the end of the cooking time. Depending on your oven you may need more or less time. Test with a toothpick if you’re not sure if it’s cooked. If the toothpick comes out clean it will be cooked. If uncooked, pop it back into the oven for a further 5-10 min or until it is cooked.
We had this cake plain, dusted with icing sugar. It would be lovely with a citrus and cream cheese icing.
I recommend you puree some of your excess tomatoes, storing them in batches of 250ml in the freezer, for use during winter and spring.