Monday, 7 July 2008

Tomato cake, the sweet and spicy type

First point. I've now understood that vegetables do deserve their places in sweet cakes. They make them moist and therefore good. And I understand that before I've even tried beetroot-chocolate cake or chocolate cake with sauerkraut.

Second point. I haven't yet understood why vegetable cakes always hide their flavour behind a heap of spices or chocolate. Would they really be that bad otherwise? I haven't tried a version without them myself, but it seems as though we're just using the vegetables, isn't it? I mean, I'd be insulted, it's like dating a man but begging him to wear a paper bag on his head.

Third point. In case of a tomato flood at your house (I'm looking forward to ours...), this recipe is a great way of smuggling tomatoes into a dish. Just peel fresh tomatoes by scaring them with boiling water until the skin wants to come off by itself.

Spicy tomato cake with curd cheese frosting
(Adapted from Maria Öhrn's 'Tårtor' (Cakes))

100 g butter at room temperature
2 1/2 dl soft brown sugar (I used 2 dl of caster sugar and 1/2 dl of dark syrup instead)
3 eggs
3 dl pureed canned tomatoes (beware, they have to be in their own juice, not marinated)
5 dl flour
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 ml ground nutmeg
2 ml ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
100 g walnuts (I used hazelnuts instead - a very tasty adaption!), chopped to pieces

400 g curd cheese (cream cheese could be used instead)
2 dl heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  1. Beat the soft butter together with the sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one by one and then pureed tomatoes.
  3. Mix flour with spices and baking soda, then add to the batter. Add chopped nuts.
  4. Grease a 24 cm springform pan and pour the batter into it. Bake at 175C for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  5. Beat the heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer until whipped, then add curd cheese. Flavour with extra sugar (if needed), vanilla and lime juice.
  6. Cut the cake into two and spread the frosting both between the layers and on top. The cake is good served immediately, but it's better after a few hours.

It's primarily a spice cake. I tried to trace tomato flavour (thinking of tomato juice), but it was quite hard. I think I noticed a bit of it, but that's as far as my noticing goes; I can't be sure:D

The spice combination kind of gets it and the cake is nicely moist, even if it doesn't look so apparent on the photos. The curd cheese frosting came out really nice and fitting, but I tend to think that sour cream could have been a cooler ingredient here. Even more in harmony with the whole spicy cakey thingy (and it's not that I thought about our family's all-time-favourite tomato salad with sour cream...).

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Roasted banana ice cream with poppy seeds

Mayhaps you too went to search for some good bursting red tomatoes this one morning and encountered a bunch of blackened bananas instead. No bursting red tomatoes. Sad moment. The bananas looked kinda scary as well. Another sad moment.

But the thing with bananas is that they tend to be villainy. I mean, scaring me like that and then turning out to be perfectly lovely on the inside.

Makes me think I never really cared about the tomatoes anyway.

This is my first attempt at cooking a recipe from apparently the Bible of ice cream, David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. But still I couldn't help but mess with it, dear me.

Roasted banana ice cream with poppy seeds
(adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, via butter sugar flour)

3 medium ripe bananas (totally ripe suits as well;))
75 g brown sugar
3 dl milk
1 dl curd cheese (using cream cheese would also be good)
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lime juice
vanilla (1/2 tsp extract)
1/4 tsp salt
at least 1 tbsp of poppy seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Slice the bananas and place into a small baking dish together with the brown sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the bananas are caramelized. Turn once during cooking.
  3. With the help of a food processor, blender or immersion blender, puree the bananas together with the syrup from the baking dish, milk, curd cheese, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add poppy seeds.
  4. Chill the mixture in the fridge until cold.
  5. Churn in an ice-cream machine until thick or place in a plastic container, pop it in the freezer and give it a good whip every hour or every few hours, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

The words banana ice cream never make me drool, actually, as I tend to think of store-bought ice cream pops that carry the same unmistakable banana essence flavour that all banana-FLAVOURED sweets have in them.
Maybe you've seen yellow banana-shaped jellybeans. Well, there must be a reason to their shape. Nobody would understand they're supposed to taste like bananas, is what I'd reckon.

But roasting really intensifies the taste of the bananas. It's not just banana-flavoured ice cream, it's actually banana ice cream. Which, you know, is a totally drool-worthy dish. The poppy seeds? They were the only thing I felt was missing from the ice cream, that's it.

The recipe will also be taking part of the fab event Frozen Desserts, hosted by Mike of Mike's Table.