Yes, I know this sounds bizarre. Tomatoes? In a dessert? When tomatoes were in season, we decided to give it a go. This recipe comes from Paul Bertolli’s “Cooking By Hand” cookbook (if you don’t have this cookbook, GET IT—it’s amazing!).
As usual, my baking skills were lacking and although the cake passed the toothpick test, it was underdone. The flavors of the tomatoes on the cake were flawless, though, and fortunately the cherry tomato preserves make enough in a single batch for two cakes. Even David, who looked at me as though I was serving roadkill when I told him we were having a tomato cake, was pleasantly surprised at how much this cake rocked. Other than it being the consistency of a big sneeze because Marc can’t bake.
Making the recipe a second (and third) time, I increased the baking time by 5-10 minutes and it came out perfect. If a baketard can make this recipe rock, you DEFINITELY can...
Give it a try. No, really….
Tomato Upside Down Cake
Caramel for lining the bottom of the cake pan:
1/2 c dark brown sugar
5 oz unsalted butter
4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 large, firm-ripe tomato such as Brandywine or Marvel Stripe or any large juicy tomato
1 1/2 c cherry tomato preserves (recipe follows)
For caramel, melt together the 5 oz butter and the 1/2 c dark brown sugar. Pour into a round 9-inch cake pan. Slice the tomato very thinly, about 1/8 inches thick. Place the slices in the cake pan, allowing them to touch but not overlap. Spread the Yellow Tomato Preserves on top of the tomato slices, taking care not to disturb the slices.
To prepare the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, cream together 4 oz butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly (the mixture will not be completely smooth at this time). Add the sifted dry ingredients and beat only until smooth. Scrape the bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula and beat briefly until the batter is completely smooth. Spread the batter in the pan evenly.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Flip the cake over onto a large plate to remove it from the pan. Be sure to remove the cake while still quite warm, otherwise the cake may stick in the pan. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.
Cherry Tomato Preserves
1 quart yellow pear tomatoes or any cherry tomato
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water
Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Raise the heat to high and while stirring constantly, reduce the mixture to a thick consistency.