Cauliflower Cake


I wasn’t allowed to be a picky eater as a kid. If I complained or refused to eat my meal, I was…convinced to finish what was on my plate (let’s just say that there were threats of the wooden spoon coming out of the drawer). Not that I, or my sister, were bad eaters. We ate almost everything even though we liked some dishes less than others. There were, however, a handful of foods I was allowed to refuse, because my parents recognized that no matter what punishment I was threatened with, my revulsion was too strong to eat them. A few times I threw up the offending foods and that cemented their fate. There was tahini (which I can’t stand to this day), dried fava beans with spinach (cooked spinach still makes me gag), and black eyed peas. I was allowed to eat something else when they were on the table.DSC04208

On the other hand, one thing I always loved was cauliflower. My mom always made it the same way: stewed in a tomato sauce. I loved the texture and the taste and to this day, it’s my go to vegetable. I usually just cut it up, toss it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast it in a 425º F oven until it caramelizes. We usually eat it tossed with the simple garlic lime vinaigrette that makes everything better.

When I saw the recipe for this savory cauliflower cake, I knew I had to try it and it didn’t disappoint. Not only is it a beautiful looking cake, but it has a lovely light taste (that even cauliflower haters could like) and a texture that’s not too dense but substantial enough to be satisfying. It makes a fantastic brunch dish, along with a green salad on the side. DSC04217

Cauliflower Cake – Slightly adapted from The Kitchn (Originally from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi)


1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1 1/4-inch florets (about 4 cups)
1 medium red onion, peeled (6 ounces)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
7 large eggs
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Parmesan or another aged cheese
Melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil, for brushing
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (or more white sesame seeds)
Salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.

Cut 4 round slices, each 1/4-inch/5-mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth (but don’t overmix) before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2-inch/24-cm springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter or oil, then mix together the sesame seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides (this is optional, you can skip it if you want, but it does look beautiful when you unmold the cake). Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.

Stone Fruit Cobbler


We’ve done quite a lot of traveling around France over the years. We have always preferred to stay either in a chambres d’hôtes (a bed & breakfast) or, if we are traveling with a group of friends, a gîte (an entire house). Without a doubt, one of our favorite things about staying in a bed & breakfast has always been the breakfast part. The bed part is rarely good. The mattresses are often old and either lumpy and soft or hard as a rock. And the pillows are almost always square. Yes, square. The French use square pillows. Which means that the bottom of the pillow comes under your shoulders. And that makes for a really uncomfortable night of sleep. We’ve actually considered traveling with our own pillows but we don’t want to carry that much luggage.DSC03257

Anyway, back to the breakfast part. It is always a rather rich affair, with fresh bread, salted butter, homemade jams, fruits or fruit salad, baked goods, cheeses, and whatever else the owners have either prepared or acquired from their local market. I remember one B&B in the Loire valley that had the most amazing homemade jams. I still dream about their peach and rosemary jam. As you may already know, breakfast is very important to Steve and me. We wake up hungry, hungry! One of our friends has a funny photo that she took on our last trip when we were all staying at a B&B in Normandy. Steve and I are at the big dining table that is covered with untouched breakfast food. We are the first ones there, sitting ramrod straight in our chairs, staring straight ahead at the camera, looking incredibly hungry and anxious. It’s obvious we are thinking “why are they not down yet? when are we going to eat? we are so hungry.” DSC03251

This stone fruit cobbler is the type of dish that would be typical at this kind of breakfast. It’s quick to make and it uses few ingredients and seasonal fruit. It can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, ready to be presented to the two hungry American tourists that are sitting at the table by themselves, looking like they are ready to devour everything.



Stone Fruit Cobbler – Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit

Note: If stone fruit is not in season, you can use other fruits like apples or berries.


3 pounds peaches, nectarines, or plums, each cut into 6 wedges (or 1″ pieces if using ramekins)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon kirsch (clear cherry brandy) or other fruit brandy (optional)
½ tablespoon orange flower water (optional)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3½ oz. almond paste
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until pale golden brown


Toss peaches, granulated sugar, flour, salt, kirsch and orange flower water, if using, in a large bowl. Transfer to a 13×9” baking dish or split among 12 ramekins; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, almond paste, and granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each. Mix in dry ingredients.

Drop dollops of batter over fruit (batter will even out during baking). Sprinkle with almonds. Place baking dish or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until topping is golden brown and fruit juices are thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes for13x9 dish or 45-50 minutes for ramekins. Let cobbler sit at least 20 minutes before serving. It will sink as it cools down.

Cobbler can be served slightly warm, at room temperature, or cold, straight out of the fridge. It can be served as dessert but it also makes a wonderful breakfast or brunch addition.