Somehow birthdays and cake have become an inseparable duo. No birthday celebration is complete without a slice or two of cake. Sometimes a simple last minute whip up will do, other times a huge sugar filled frosted concoction is in order. My earliest memories of birthdays always include cake of various shapes and sizes shared with family and friends. These days it’s become a tradition of mine to make a cake of some sort for my family on their birthday. My personal favorite combination is a simple victoria sandwich cake with raspberry jam and freshly whipped cream. My husband on the other hand has a weakness for white chocolate buttercream frosting and strawberries!
But what do you do when you have a friend who hates sweets? Yes! Sweets of all sorts and shapes. Who knew such a person was out there! I am partial to savory foods myself, but sometimes nothing hits the spot like a little bite of sweet. Unfortunately, my friend does not share this same weakness! However, it is due to her that I have discovered the amazingness that is the savory cake. I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled across it before but have now found many instances where it should belong. Picnics, brunches, lazy dinners, tea time, with wine before dinner… so many possibilities. From now on, these occasions will not be complete without one of these.
It is put together very much like the sweet version, just without the sugar or chocolate. The result is a crumbly and soft textured cake, but packed with flavor and a gorgeous eggy bite. It’s moorish, I warn you, one slice might just not be enough!
The flavor combinations are endless and I can’t wait to experiment. This particular version was inspired by a pizza – one of my most favorite foods in the world. If you’re pressed for time, you could always omit the caramelized onions which take up most of the time, but know it might not taste as good!
Proscuitto, Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Savory Cake
- 150ml +2 tsp olive oil
- 10-12 basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100g parmesan, coarsely grated
- 100g proscuitto di parma, roughly chopped
- 40g sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
- 150g milk
- 4 eggs
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Grease and line a 7 inch tall cake tin with a touch of olive oil.
In a small bowl, combine 150ml of olive oil and the basil. Set aside to infuse while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil and when shimmering, add onions. Stir to coat and lower the heat to medium low. Cover and let the onions cook slowly, stirring every so often for about 30-45 minutes until golden brown. Set aside and once cool, roughly chop into small pieces.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the caramelized onions, parmesan, proscuitto, sun dried tomatoes, salt, red chili flakes. Fold in the ingredients so all is evenly distributed.
In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk and the olive oil basil mixture. Whisk till combined.
Make a well in the middle in the large bowl with the flour mixture and slowly fold in the egg mixture, a bit at a time until all is just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix as this will make the cake tough.
Pour into the greased cake tin and pop into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes or so in the tin and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- The caramelized onions can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days before assembling the rest of the ingredients.
- You could also easily make this recipe in a muffin tin for individual sized portions.