There's lovely little patisserie in Paris Called Rose Bakery. Here, in defiance of all sense and logic an Anglo French couple have opened in the heart of the pastry version of Disneyland that is Paris aka Pastryland and they serve up lovely little Anglo French treats to a roaring trade. There isn't a traditional shop window and only a door to entice customers. The coffee, cheeses, pottery and cutlery are from England.
Sometimes things that just aren't supposed to work do.
Case in point: broccoli cake
And a savoury cake flavoured with curry powder at that.
Now stay with me, this is one of Rose Bakery's recipes from their book Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. And if an English inspired bakery can work in Paris, then a savoury cake might just work too.
I thought I'd give it a go as I had an excess of broccoli. I love the stuff so much that I tend to overbuy it and we had found ourselves going out for dinner almost every night and neglecting the broccoli. I would find myself feeling guilty when I opened up the vegetable crisper every day and I would see four heads of broccoli peeping out at me so I figured now was as good a time as any to try this unusual little recipe.
I went a little Rachel Berry and tried to make it as A grade worthy as possible and decided to make it look as much as a tree landscape as possible by mixing in some cocoa into the batter for the ground and using Persian feta to make clouds but you needn't do that although I will say that you definitely want to add the feta and if you can get it, the Yarra Valley Persian feta is to die for so get that if you want.
So what is this not so little cake like? Amazingly it is very good. It is a savoury cake with a hint of sweetness and the curry works beautifully with the feta. If anything for the ext time I would be inclined to add even more of the luscious herbed feta. It's really best eaten on the day that it is made, this is not a loaf that keeps for days so I think a picnic with lots of attendees would be the ideal occasion for this.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried something that you didn't expect to like but you did?
Broccoli Forest Cake
Adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini, Rose Bakery
- 500 g (2¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 800 g (1 pound 12 ounces) broccoli, cut into florets
- 100 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 7 eggs
- 550 g (3½cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 rounded teaspoon ground turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional if making the "ground" layer)
- 125g/4ozs marinated Persian feta (or more, I mean there is no such thing as too much here)
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Butter a 25 cm (10 inch) loaf tin and line its base and sides with parchment paper.
Step 2 - Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then drain well and set aside.
The cocoa "ground" layer
Step 3 - Beat the butter till it is very light and creamy, then beat in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix together the baking powder, turmeric, cayenne, curry powder and salt, and fold into the mixture with the flour. Mix well and add in the feta, crumbled. If you are making the brown "ground" level, take 1/5 of the mixture and fold through the 2 tablespoons of cocoa. Spoon into the prepared tin-again if you are doing the brown layer spoon that in first and then spoon in the yellow batter.
Step 4 - Push the broccoli into the mixture be quite generous so that each slice will have a good number of florets. I felt it easier to get the tree effect if I used a big floret of broccoli but again you don't need to do that.
Step 5 - Bake for about 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre (make sure to test the batter, not the broccoli) comes out clean.