Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's a Hit! -- Tomato Devil's Food Cake

It's the Sweet Side of Tomatoes!  Aren't they beautiful?

The Wichita Organic Garden Club featured "The Sweet Side of Tomato: Tomato as Fruit" last Saturday at the Kansas Grown Farmers' Market Tomato Day celebration.  Desserts made with tomatoes displayed the variety of sweetness the fruit can add to life.

Paula's (dietitian) Evaluation:  A little something sweet can fit into every diet!  And this cake is great - the day after you make it.  Seriously, it had to sit a bit to let the tomato flavor dissipate, especially in the frosting.  I started to lick a beater, but it was too tomatoey, however, the following day, SO good!  Plus, this is a great way to sneak in some phytochemicals and antioxidants if you don't like straight tomato!

Chris's (chef) Evaluation:  This seemed to be a French genoise style recipe.  I think genoise means sponge in French.  So a fancy French sponge cake.  The recipe is excellent and the flavor of the cake was pretty good as far as chocolate cake goes.  But I've never been able to duplicate Betty Crocker.  The whole technique is getting everything to room temperature so that nothing is too hot and nothing is too cold, the presence of either condition will deflate the foams you have created and thus your cake when it is baking.  So I added the tomato puree and vanilla to the chocolate mixture to bring it down to room temperature before adding it to the butter.  And I was fortunate enough not to have my cake fall.  This was a fun and challenging recipe and the frosting was a snap.

Tomato Devil’s Food with Tomato Butter Cream Frosting
From Greene on Greens and Grains by Bert Greene (Tess Press)

Make this recipe only when tomatoes are in season. Winter varieties will not do.

2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound)
4 ounces sweet chocolate
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup milk
3 egg yolks
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and seed the tomatoes. Place them in a blender container; blend until smooth. Measure off 1¼ cups tomato puree; reserve.

3. Place the chocolate, brown sugar, milk, and 1 of the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler. Cook, stirring occasionally, over hot water until smooth and slightly thickened. Set aside.

4. Sift the flour with the baking soda and salt.

5. Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until light. Slowly beat in the granulated sugar. Add the remaining 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the tomato puree, the vanilla, and the chocolate mixture. Beat thoroughly. Slowly stir in the flour mixture.

6. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them into the cake batter. Pour the batter into two buttered and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out fairly clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Cool on a wire rack. Unmold.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon brandy
4 tablespoon tomato puree
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

7.  Mix together sugar and butter on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

8.  Add brandy, tomato puree and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

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