When my sister first told me she had made this cake a few weeks ago with the last remaining green tomatoes in her vegetable garden I immediately thought that this was one of her weird experiments and dismissed it.
The idea stayed with me though and I couldn’t stop thinking of this green tomato cake that she had been raving about. I’m a huge fan of green tomatoes and the thought of incorporating them into my baking was intriguing. So I called her back up a few days later and asked her a bit more about it. She said the texture was incredibly moist but the closest thing she could see that it resembled was a carrot cake. Suddenly it all made sense and I kicked myself for not seeing how this was the perfect use for the firm, tangy tomatoes that are still hanging round well into Autumn, especially when spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
I thought I had missed out though as I hadn’t seen any green tomatoes for a while and assumed their time had passed for the season. Then on a chance visit to Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market I saw huge mounds of the these emerald green beauties glinting in the frost bitten sun. I am useless when it comes to understanding quantities of things and rather than be floundering with too few tomatoes I bought bags of them, just in case.
There wasn’t a huge amount of recipes for green tomato cake online but those that were all emanated from the Deep South which is understandable since they are the guys that brought us the sublime fried green tomatoes and seem to understand this ingredient better than most. It does seem that the cake is treated much like any vegetable cake with plenty of sugar, oil instead of butter and spicing aplenty. I took my Autumn theme a bit more seriously though and dotted diced stem ginger throughout, and topped the cake with a sweetly buttered crunchy streusel crown. The streusel topping turned out to be a wonderful adornment, making the cake taste almost like a deliciously moist fruit crumble. The pockets of juicy tomato are so enticing and add another texture every now and then to the now complex structure of the cake. It’s just as well then that the assembling of the cake is so darn simple. The recipe really is a keeper and will definitely be brought to my kitchen table every October/November when the glut of green tomatoes is at its peak.
Green Tomato and Stem Ginger Cake with Streusel Topping
Adapted from a recipe on southernfood.about.com
225g caster sugar
225g light brown sugar
240ml olive oil
40ml stem ginger syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
350g green tomatoes, diced
75g stem ginger, finely diced
For the streusel topping:
85g demerara sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g cold butter
2 tablespoons oats
- Pre-heat the oven to 170° and line and grease a 20cm deep round cake tin
- First make the streusel topping by rubbing together the flour, 85g sugar, cinnamon and butter until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the oats, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat together the caster sugar, light brown sugar, olive oil, stem ginger syrup, eggs and vanilla until completely combined.
- In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.
- Add the flour to the sugar and egg mixture and beat until just combined.
- Stir in the green tomatoes and the stem ginger until evenly distributed then pour into the cake tin.
- Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake mixture then scatter over the remaining 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. You might want to check the cake halfway through and cover the top with foil if the streusel topping is getting too brown.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out to finish cooling on a wire rack.