This savory Cauliflower Cake is and isn’t from Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook, Plenty More.
I say it is and isn’t, not because it isn’t. Because it is. It’s in the book. It really is. But it isn’t from the book. Meaning I’d come across this beautiful, though unusual, bit of masterful cookery (as Mr. Ottolenghi might say) before I’d ever heard of superstar Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. It’s quite a memorable recipe. One I’m sure I will never forget.
When I first got my hands on the cookbook Plenty More I naturally began to flip through it. When I came to this recipe for Cauliflower Cake– I just had to stop in my tracks. Not just because the photo of this cake is so beautiful (though it is!) but because I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I was certain I’d come across this Cauliflower Cake somewhere before.
So I turned to Google for the answer. It turns out quite a few bloggers have recently had great success with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake and it seems they were all introduced to it through the recent publication of Plenty More, including a beautiful version from the blog She Paused for Thought (a site I visit regularly). However my deja vu seemed too eerie to have had its genesis just a few weeks ago. No, I’m sure I’d come across this Cauliflower Cake long before it appeared in Plenty More. Is that possible, I wondered…
So back to the search engines I went, where I soon found that Smitten Kitchen made this Cauliflower Cake way back in 2010!
Egads, I thought to myself. Have I discovered a bit of online intrigue? Is there scuttlebutt in the making? Will it become my responsibility to expose this caper and all of its nefarious players?
However, I should not have let the conspiracy theorist that lives in my head get the best of me. Upon closer inspection I saw that Smitten Kitchen got the recipe from a chap named Yotam, who supplied the recipe (way back in 2010) to The Guardian (a British national daily newspaper that also has an online edition). Which makes sense because I make The Guardian a regular read. Especially the food section.
Scandal averted. GREG
Yotam Ottolenghi’s original recipe indicated 45 minutes of baking. I found that amount of time was not quite enough. I changed the baking time to 50 minutes. Please test the center yourself before taking this cake from the oven. GREG
- 1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 ¼‑inch/3‑cm florets (1 pound/450 g)
- 1 medium red onion, peeled (6 ounce/170 g)
- 5 tablespoon olive oil (75 ml)
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
- 7 eggs
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (120 g)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 5 ounce coarsely grated Parmesan or another mature cheese (150 g)
- Salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Melted unsalted butter (as needed for brushing)
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
Cut 4 round slices off one end of the onion (each ¼ inch/5 mm thick) and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.
Line the base and sides of a 9 ½‑inch/24-cm spring-form cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 50 minutes, 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. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.
This is delicious! We made it last night and it will last for a while. We added broccoli, spinach, and diced red pepper, which meant we needed more eggs, so I used a total of 10 eggs but it worked perfectly. Next time I’m going to layer it so that I’ll cover the bottom, cover that with diced peppers, add some more, and for sure a layer of cherry tomatoes. Perfect dish!
I made this, it was divine. Had it warm and thought it was great cold too.
Best dish I have ever cooked or eaten. Seriously, this is the best! Make sure to get the black sesame seeds, worth the purchase. It’s a showstopper, delicious and best yet a make ahead. I make it day before, cook then refrigerate. Slice cold the next day, bring to room temp and gently reheat!
Super easy to make, although mine was not nearly as pretty. This would impress family if you brought it for Thanksgiving for sure. Seems like a lot of steps but it wasn’t at all. I steamed my cauliflower in the microwave using a plate with a lip, covered it with a paper towel and added a little water over the top and cooked for 6 mins. While I did that I sautéed the onion and rosemary. I also added 1/2 poblano pepper to the sauté for more color and flavor. Next time I’ll use a whole one. I also used almond flour since I’m low carb so it didn’t rise as high but the taste was amazing! This could actually go w/o flour at all. Just add a couple more eggs and some milk or cream which is what I do when I make frittatas.
This was a delicious dish and we’ll worth the steps to make.
Okay! Wow! Gorgeous, gorgeous! And I love that I know first hand how wonderful it tastes!
Sounds great, very creative Israeli chef, I’ve got to try this recipe.
A great recipe gets around 😉
That, right there, screams EASTER BRUNCH! I remember Kate Wheeler making a cauliflower cake for one of the first FBLA meetings I attended, ever so long ago.
This is brilliant! Love the recipe, love the flavors of this. Might be fun to try with Indian spices, too (although with the turmeric you’re already headed in that direction). Don’t purple onions make the best garnish?
That is stunning. I will be making this really soon.
Hahaha…you totally deserve high honors for pulling on your Sherlock Holmes hat and getting to the bottom of this mystery. I mean 2010? That’s an incredible memory right there. I can’t even remember what I did yesterday…much less remember a recipe that I read about online 5 years ago! In all seriousness, though, this cauliflower cake looks incredible. Those onions on the top are the perfect garnish. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like this…quite unique!
Wow, who’d have thought a cauliflower cake could be that beautiful and delicious??! What a terrific mixture of ingredients—tasty for sure!!!
Oh my god, that’s beautiful. Now I have to make this!
Sorta cakey.…sorta quichey.….I don’t care what we call it, it’s more than sorta gorgeous, and I am SO making it soon!