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Author Notes: This recipe is great for using up overripe tomatoes. Juicy, tangy and sweet, seasonal tomatoes make it obvious that they’re fruits and not vegetables. Eating one recently, I noticed that it almost tasted like a berry, and I wondered why we make sweet treats from pumpkins and zucchini but hardly ever from tomatoes, at least not that I’ve seen or tasted. Now was the time.
The result is a moist, flavorful, casual cake whose main ingredient will go unsuspected by many. Feel free to adjust and augment the spices as you wish, and to add some orange zest, nuts, and/or raisins to the batter -- they make welcome additions!
This recipe first appeared on my web site, buttersugarflowers.com —butter, sugar, flowers
Makes a 9 x 13" pan (about 24 slices)
For the cake
- Just under 2 pounds ripe tomatoes (I use very ripe multicolored heirloom tomatoes)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 2.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1.5 teaspoon ground ginger
For the glaze (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2+ tablespoons strained lemon juice
- a few dashes cinnamon and nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 by 13” cake pan with parchment paper; grease parchment and inner sides of pan. Wash the tomatoes and cut the stem spot off each of them, then slice into fourths and place in food processor. Puree until liquidy and even in consistency; little flecks of colored skin are welcome. Measure out 2 and 2/3 cups; set aside. (Use remainder as you wish.)
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and molasses until smooth and even in color. Beat in the oil until incorporated. Sift all remaining dry ingredients over the egg mixture. Begin to fold in the dry ingredients, gradually adding the measured tomato puree. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with spatula; mix until batter is even.
- Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the surface with spatula. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until center tests clean with a toothpick and no longer jiggles. Let cool completely in pan, then transfer to a large plate or cutting board, removing parchment.
- While a dusting of spiced powdered sugar or decadent cream cheese frosting are equally delicious, I like to opt for the easy, pretty glaze noted above doing the following: Sift powdered sugar and spices into a bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and mix until smooth, adding more lemon juice by the teaspoon if too thick. Drizzle diagonally over cake using a pastry bag, plastic bag with a small hole cut in its corner, or a spoon or fork. Let icing dry before serving.
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