Pecorino Romano Cake with Candied Tomatoes

January 18, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This cake is served at Del Posto restaurant and was created by Kimberly Janusz and Brooks Headley. It first appeared in issue 3 of Cherry Bombe Magazine. If you aren’t keen on sweet tomatoes, you could also top it with apples or pears (or, come summer, strawberries) sliced thinly and roasted with honey and balsamic vinegar. And this cake wouldn't be bad with a scoop of olive oil gelato.Sarah Jampel

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients

For the candied tomatoes:

  • 3 tablespoons (37 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to cover the tomatoes
  • Water, as needed
  • 15 small tomatoes, blanched and peeled

For the cake:

  • 1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (85 grams) finely grated Pecorino Romano (look for the good, sheepy stuff from the Lazio region of Italy)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking powder
  • 1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
  • Turbinado sugar, for serving
In This Recipe

Directions

For the candied tomatoes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F, or the lowest possible setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Add the olive oil and then add enough water to turn it into a wet, sandy slurry. Toss the peeled tomatoes in the slurry until they're coated.
  3. Take the tomatoes out of the sugary oil and scatter them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 2 hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled but not dry. They should be sweet and candy-like.
  4. Allow the tomatoes to cool and put them in a plastic container. Cover them completely with oil and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F and line a quarter-sized sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stream in the heavy cream, mixing until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the sheet pan, tipping the pan so the batter is evenly distributed. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly before serving (the cake will collapse a bit). Slice into squares and top with a couple of room temperature tomatoes in their oil along with a few sprinkles of turbinado sugar. The cake is best warm; re-warm it if serving the next day.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Cheese|Cream Cheese|Tomato|Sheet Pan|Breakfast|Dessert

Reviews (9) Questions (0)

9 Reviews

Phillie F. October 22, 2016
Do you use a microplane to grate the cheese? Thank you in advance for your reply.
 
Frederique M. October 14, 2016
Could you omit the sugar altogether and use this to eat with savory foods a little like cornbread or biscuits? I cannot have sugar in the morning but the idea of this with some smoked salmon and lemon juice or even pesto and an egg sounds delish!
 
Ivy H. March 16, 2015
I'm just wondering if "small tomatoes" refer to cherry tomatoes? I tried the recipe using what I believed were small tomatoes (perhaps around the size of 2 cherry tomatoes), but it did not work at all-- it became more tomato sauce than candied tomatoes. So I'm just wondering if this was the mistake?
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. March 16, 2015
Hi Ivy, Sorry it didn't work! The original recipe calls for strawberry tomatoes, but I've made it grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and slightly larger tomatoes that I halved. The key, in my opinion, to getting candied tomatoes is to make sure you don't dump all of the tomatoes AND the oil onto the baking sheet -- you want to remove the tomatoes and leave the oil behind. Hope that helps!
 
HappyColor January 26, 2015
Oh, and because it was a birthday cake, I put it in a springform pan -- round. Came out great!
 
HappyColor January 26, 2015
I made this for a friend using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour. It was pretty good plain, but the addition of the tomatoes really made it fantastic. I'll make this again!
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. January 26, 2015
I'm so glad you liked it!
 
Laura415 January 22, 2015
I have sheet pans and various other dishes and things I bake cakes in. Wondering what measurements the quarter sheet pan is, so if I don't have one I can use another baking dish or cake pan and still spread the batter out to the proper thickness. Thanks for any help.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. January 23, 2015
It's a 9 x 13!