This Spicy Cake Has A Savory Secret

January 26, 2018

If you’re a savory breakfast fan, then you know the struggle. Brunches that offer French toast smothered in syrup, or fruit-filled tea cakes. Or those serve-yourself spreads with yogurt parfaits and sugary cereals. Even grab-and-go meals skew sweet with granola bars and smoothies. Eggs or avocado toast are great alternatives, but can present a challenge for anyone who wants to make meals ahead of the morning rush.

Photo by Julia Gartland

For a vegetable-packed (yet portable!) start to your day, turn these snack cakes from food writer Asha Shivakumar’s latest cookbook, Masala & Meatballs. Inspired by a popular savory cake called handvo from the region of Gujarat, India, Shivakumar likes to bake the treats for breakfast.

“I almost always make them in muffin pans to send them off in my boys’ lunch boxes with some dip,” she says. “It’s full of vegetables, and tastes as good hot as at room temperature.”

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Whether you bake (or steam) one loaf or loads of muffins, the mixture contains tons of fresh vegetables, like carrots, bell peppers, cabbage, and peas. Combined with a sesame crust, each bite includes both a refreshing crunch and bright colors.

To complement the spicy heat of the green chiles, try a drizzle of sauce or swoop of spread. We like the idea of a slice with green chutney, pesto, or peanut sauce, but go ahead and experiment with what your savory heart desires.

What's your go-to savory breakfast? Or are you team sweet all the way?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Judith Rae
    Judith Rae
  • milkjam
  • Kimberly Mansager
    Kimberly Mansager
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Judith R. February 2, 2018
My savory breakfast is oatmeal with Romano pecorino cheese and lots of freshly grated black pepper.
milkjam January 26, 2018
Sounds tasty, the heading says " and gluten free too." Check the ingredients, semolina flour is not gluten free.
Kimberly M. January 28, 2018
Still comes up as GF. Got my hopes up!