This past weekend, we had a friend over for a late lunch. Hubby made steak for the two of them, and I thought this was a perfect time to try out a recipe that I found fascinating, but that I was worried might turn out really weird. I’ll eat just about anything I make, no matter how bad it is, but hubby can be a bit more picky, so I wanted to make it when he had something else to eat, just in case. Turns out, as odd of a concept as this is, this savory cake is delicious (all three of us loved it). The recipe comes from Rose Eliot’s Vegetarian Cookery, which is a book I’ve had for probably decades. It’s British, so sometimes things take a little bit of interpretation and tweaking, as you’ll see below. The recipe says it serves 4, but the three of us had generous servings, and then there were leftovers for the next day, so I’d say it serves 4-5 as a main meal or more as a side dish. This recipe is minus meat, minus troublesome fiber, and minus lactose.
Savory Olive Mushroom Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour (the original recipe calls for “300g/10 oz self-raising 85% wholewheat flour,” but I don’t even know what 85% wholewheat flour is, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen wholewheat self-rising flour in an American supermarket, and I don’t tend to keep self-rising flour on hand, thus the next 3 ingredients to convert regular flour into self-rising)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (this is in the original recipe, so I kept it in)
5 fluid oz. (150 ml) white wine (I used chardonnay)
4 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz garlic stuffed green olives, sliced (the original recipe calls for just pitted green olives, sliced, but we had a couple jars of garlic stuffed in the fridge–I think the garlic adds a nice touch)
6 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced (the original recipe doesn’t specify the type of mushroom, I used the pre-sliced mixed mushrooms from the grocery store)
6 slices Trader Joe’s yogurt cheese, cut into thin strips (this comes pre-sliced, and it’s lactose free, but still real cheese, so a great option for hubby; the original recipe calls for 6 oz grated cheese, not specifying the type of cheese)
(the original recipe also calls for butter for greasing the pan, but I used cooking spray, and for chicory [Belgian endive] and watercress for garnish, but my local grocery store had neither of those, so I didn’t garnish, and I don’t think it’s necessary.)
Ignore all the other stuff behind the ingredients–the house we now live in has very little counter space. Also, the picture was an afterthought–I was just gathering the ingredients to make the dish.
Preheat the oven. The recipe says to do it to 250C/500F, but when I did the conversion from 250C, I got 482F, and my oven has digital controls, so I preheated to 482F. Grease your pan. The recipe calls for a 20 cm/8 inch cake tin or a 900 g/2 lb loaf tin. But once I mixed up all the ingredients, I realized that British cake pans must be deeper than American ones, because there is no way the 8″ cake pan (typical 8″ diameter circle about 1″ deep) would fit all that. Also, Americans don’t tend to measure their loaf pans in pounds, but rather in inches. I ended up using a 9 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ loaf pan, and that worked well. I think also an 8″ brownie pan would work well (I don’t have one at the moment, but I think it would be better than the loaf pan, because you would end up with more crust, and the crust is really awesome).
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs and oil and mix until smooth. Stir in the olives, mushrooms, and cheese, and mix until everything is incorporated. Put it in your greased baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Then turn down the oven. The recipe says to turn it down to 190C/375F (that conversion is just about right), and bake for 40-50 minutes. My lovely digital oven, however, does not have a functioning number 3, so I turned it down to 400F, and baked it for 35 minutes (I checked after 30). You’re looking for it to be firm, golden brown, and pulling away from the edges of the pan.
The recipe stops there, telling you to garnish, so I took it upon myself to use my previous cake baking experience, and assume I shouldn’t let it cool in the pan, but rather turn it onto a rack to cool. In order to do this, I had to use a knife to loosen the sides from the edges of the pan in some places, as the cheese was making it stick. It also made it stick a bit on the bottom, so maybe it needs parchment paper.
You can serve it warm or room temperature, and it stores well wrapped in the refrigerator, and is good cold, as well. The whole cake came to 73 Freestyle smartpoints, so points per piece depend on how many pieces you cut it into. This really is a cake–it has the texture of a cake, rather than a bread, but it’s just totally not sweet.