Tuesday, July 14, 2009

cooking class and tomato recipe

Good morning class!

Garlic, Tomatoes and Olive Oil! That's the theme of today's class, the first day of a weeklong class I began teaching this morning. And what a day it was! 10:00 AM, clean aprons, anxiety and lots of smiles. We made the Best Bloody Marys with Pickled Asparagus to serve with Crostini Rossi or red crostini. Then we had a tomato salad with all kinds of first-of-the-season heirloom tomatoes with Gorgonzola and pine nut toasts and for the main course, homemade feta and goat cheese ravioli with tomatoes and mint. And since this is a day of garlic, tomatoes and olive oil, what for dessert? You'd never guess.... An upside down spiced heirloom tomato cake?

Fantastic cooking students with only one little blunder. We planned on making two cakes to have enough for everyone. The student team responsible for the cake did a masterful job preparing the batter but poured a double batch into one 9-inch pan instead of two. They did it so quickly I didn't notice anything was wrong until I smelled the wonderful cinnamon, cloves and gingered batter as it overflowed the pan and cooked on the bottom of the oven.

But as we turned the finished cake out onto the cakestand, the oooohs and ahhhhs could be heard a block away. The warm, luscious spice cake crowned with tomatoes looked perfect. Want the recipe?

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 small ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced

1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
large pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
½ cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
½ cup molasses
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon plus a few drops vanilla
½ cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Butter a 9" cake pan. For the topping melt the butter, brown sugar and ginger in the bottom of the cake pan. Cover with a single layer of the tomato sliced.

Preheat oven to 350oF. For the cake, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and mace together. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the molasses to the creamed mixture, and the egg yolks, adding one yolk at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix well. Add the milk to the above batter alternately with the dry ingredients, folding well after each addition. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites into the cake batter. Spread the batter over the tomatoes and bake until a skewer goes into the center and comes out clean, approximately 45 to 50 minutes.

After the cake has cooled for at least 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it. Turn the cake over onto a serving platter and let it sit another 5 minutes. Remove the pan. Whip the cream and flavor with confectioner’s sugar and remaining few drops vanilla.

To serve, cut the cake into wedges and serve the cream on the side.

Serves 8 to 10

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