When I signed up to attend the hypertufa workshop, read about that here, I knew that I had to bring a cake with me. As I walked in with my traveling cake safe, I heard a few gasps, and exclamations; “oh, you brought a cake!” This came as no surprise to some, especially Doris, who looked at me and smiled and said “You brought cake? Of course you did!!!” She obviously knows me, and the truth is, occasions like this are really just an excuse to take a mold down from the wall and use it!
Late summer is tomato season and if you find yourself with a few too many, consider making a cake with them. Actually, this recipe is versatile enough that you can make it with canned tomatoes, either crushed or puree, or even with tomato juice which means you can have it anytime. If you use a purchased puree or juice, check the ingredient list to make sure that ingredients such as onions or garlic are not included.
A few things to consider here. Raisins are one of those ingredients that you either love or hate. Personally, I am not a big fan but in this recipe, the golden raisins really work. Just be sure not to skip the step to plump them or they will actually draw moisture from the cake and can make it seem dry. If you use fresh tomatoes, blanch them to remove the skin and then cut each one in half and squeeze out as many of the seeds as you can before pureeing them. The nice thing about using fresh tomatoes, you can mix it up by changing the variety of tomato. Of course, you can just use a can of puree and make it anytime you want a fresh baked spice cake.
As the summer fades, spice cakes shift to center stage. Slightly denser, jammed full of warm spices, and in this case, loaded with dried fruit and nuts, spice cakes are the perfect pick-me-up as the temperatures finally start to cool off. For this cake, I combined cinnamon, allspice, cloves and freshly grated nutmeg which give the cake a warm, spicy flavor.
Guess Again Tomato Cake
with raisins and pecans
makes an 8-inch bundt cake, serves about 8-12
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 ounces (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup tomato juice, puree or crushed tomatoes
vanilla glaze, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 6 to 8 cup tube or bundt pan. Place the golden raisins in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the raisins plump until cooled. Drain well before using.
Toast the pecan pieces on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly colored and fragrant. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Set the dry ingredients aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix completely, scraping the bowl at least once. Sift one-third of the dry ingredients over the butter mixture, fold by hand a few times and add half of the tomato. Fold a few times; sift half of the remaining spiced flour over the batter, add the remaining juice, and fold a few times. Add the last of the flour mixture, and fold the batter gently until no streaks remain. Add the raisins and pecans and fold enough to incorporate them evenly.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then unmold and cool on a wire rack. Using a large spoon, ladle the glaze over the top of the cake, completely covering the top and letting the excess drip down the sides randomly.
makes about 3/4 cup
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift the confectioners sugar into a bowl. Add the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and creamy, use at once.
This cake is from my second book, Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe.