Julia Child correctly identified that “a party without cake is just a meeting.” She’s spot on. I think these days she would also agree that most meetings could actually just be an email. Now, if logic follows, should we say that anything without cake might as well be an email? I fully agree.
If a party without cake is a meeting, what is a cake without sugar? Bread? Hm… now we’re treading water into trouble.
It’s a good things you’re here today. We’re testing the borders of breakfast cake with Sweet Laurel’s lovely new grain-free cookbook: Sweet Laurel Savory. If you’re grain-free I enthusiastically recommend this book – it’s approachable grain-free food with deep roots in what is delicious and comforting.
On the sweet side of grain-free things, see also: Sweet Laurel Grain-Free Chocolate Raspberry Cake.
But sugar aside today – let’s make a savory cake and call it breakfast!
Here’s what you’ll need to make today’s savory coffee cake:
• Cherry tomatoes and olive oil, par-roasted before they’re baked again with the cake. You could also use coarsely chunked large tomatoes, the cake will just be a bit more wet.
• Parsley, garlic, lemon, and crushed red pepper flakes to create a savory streusel.
• Almond flour to give this cake a wholesome and tender crumb.
• Baking soda, baking powder and salt.
• almond milk, eggs, and mayonnaise to moisten and bind the cake. I haven’t tested this cake without the use of eggs though I suspect 2 flax eggs would work.
This recipe is grain AND diary free. If you’re not dairy free I would definitely recommend adding grated Parmesan or crumbled feta to both the filling and the topping. You know, just a few good tablespoons in both the filling and topping. We’ll call it breakfast cheese.
We’ll start by making a quick parsley pesto. In a small food processor combine half a bunch of parsley (a few good handfuls of leaves) with garlic, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Set aside half of the rough parsley pesto (this will go in the middle of our cake) and whirl the other half with almond flour and olive oil (this will be the topping to our cake).
In a medium bowl combine almond flour, leavening, and salt. It’s like making cornbread but with almond flour.
Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add beaten eggs, almond (or any non-dairy) milk, and mayonnaise. Yes, mayo with its glorious fats.
Speaking of mayo cakes – my mom used to make a chocolate cake with mayonnaise and I think I need to unearth that recipe once again.
Stir the almond flour cake batter until smooth and spoonable.
Spoon just half of the savory batter into a greased and parchment lined 8-inch baking pan.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley – scatter about.
Add the remaining savory almond batter and smooth from edge to edge in the pan. Sprinkle with the parsley + almond flour streusel topping and pile on those partially roasted tomatoes.
Bake until the tomatoes are roasty and wrinkled, the streusel is golden brown, and the whole cake is fragrant and just cooked through.
Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Now would also be a good time for a sprinkle of Parmesan or feta but that’s just me being a cheese fiend.
When the cake has cooled to just warm, lift it out of the pan and slice generously. Definitely fire up that second pot of coffee. This cake makes a case for savory cakes being something other than bread.
I love a slice in the morning with a soft boiled egg. This cake keeps well for a few days and heats up nicely with a jolt in the microwave.
Here’s what we know for sure. Cake can be savory. Cake can most certainly be breakfast. Meetings are mostly cancelled.
Sweet Laurel’s Savory Coffee Cake with Roasted Tomatoes
A grain-free unsweetened breakfast cake perfect with a cup of black coffee.
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
- 2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Streusel:
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Cake:
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or any dairy free milk you prefer)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Coarse sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Place a rack in the upper third of thee oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes until the tomatoes are just softened and starting to brown.
- While the tomatoes bake, make the streusel. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment combine parsley, garlic, zest and red peppers flakes. Process until finely chopped. Transfer half of the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside. Add the almond flour, olive oil, and salt to the parsley mixture remaining in the food processor and pulse to combine.
- When the tomatoes are finished, remove them from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- To make the cake, grease an 8-inch square baking pan lightly with oil. Line with piece of parchment paper so the flaps hang over the edge to help lift the cake after it’s baked.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt using a fork. Add the almond milk, eggs, and mayonnaise and stir until evenly combined. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Spread the reserved parsley mixture (without the almond flour) evenly over the batter, coating as best you can. Spoon the remaining batter over the parsley and spread to an even layer. Scatter the streusel over the top and layer on the roasted tomatoes.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until firm and golden. Sprinkle with with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and enjoy warm.
Photos with Jon Melendez.