Monday, February 25, 2013

Green Tomato Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting

Green Tomato Cake Collage

I was surprised to notice the other day that I've been blogging for a little over three and a half years now - where did that time go?!  Less surprising though, was the realisation that I've learnt a thing or two in that time.  Not to sound big-headed, mind you - I do know that what I don't know still massively surpasses what I do know.  But I have picked up the odd thing along the way.

For example, I now know that if you come up with a great idea for a cake that you just know you're going to want to write a blog post about, then it's not such a good idea to bake your cake in the middle of the night and thus not be able to take a decent photo of said cake.  I also know that having decided to set the cake aside in order to capture a good photo in the morning, you shouldn't let someone cut a big hunk out of the cake for supper!  I also know that trying to hurriedly snap off a good photo at 7.00am, before getting ready for work, is going to be no more successful than capturing a decent photo the night before - not only is the light still poor, but working in haste will render 9 out of 10 photos shaky and out of focus.

All these things I know, and yet somehow I still came to break every single one of those rules in the preparation of this post.  I tell you this for two reasons.  Firstly, so that hopefully you won't make the same foolish mistakes I did;  and secondly, and really more importantly, in the hope that you will not judge this cake harshly on the basis of my mediocre photos.  After all, the idea of a green tomato cake might be a little scary to some of you, and it's really going to take some kind of killer photo to sell it. 

Well, I clearly failed on the "knock-out" photo front, but I'm urging you to look beyond the photos, and give this cake a try, for, scary though this may sound, I can promise you that this cake is a stunner.  Trust me on this.

Green Tomato Cake 1
Pedestal cake plate courtesy of Stevens Homewares, Nelson (see details below)

I stumbled upon this idea after I'd been staking up my abundant tomato crop, and a whole lot of green tomatoes fell off the vines.  I did a bit of a google search on green tomatoes, thinking maybe I would come up with a good chutney recipe, when I stumbled upon this recipe from Paula Deen for a green tomato cake.  That definitely peeked my curiosity, and made me think it would be similar in many ways to a carrot cake.  So then I turned to my Mum's recipe for carrot cake,  tricked it up a little, and added a maple and mascarpone frosting using the mascarpone cheese I made last week.

Green Tomato Cake 2

The result is surprisingly light, definitely lighter than your average carrot cake, and incredibly moist.  I served this to several people without telling them what it was, and no-one picked that it had green tomatoes in it.  In fact, once cooked the green tomato becomes almost like apple in both taste and texture.  This was so good I've had requests for a repeat performance, and trust me when I tell you that does not often happen with my baking.  Personally, I can't wait to give it another try, and I think that next time I might make it into little mini cakes.  Might even get a decent photo next time!!

Green Tomato Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting Recipe
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

250g (9 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
100ml (3.5 fl oz) sunflower oil
100ml (3.5 fl oz) olive oil
250g (9 oz) soft brown sugar
3x eggs
2x green tomatoes, finely diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
100g (3.5 oz) toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting
2x cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup maple syrup
extra toasted walnuts, a generous handful

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).  Lightly grease and line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate, large bowl, using an electric beater, cream together the oil and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one until the egg is fully incorporated.  Add the diced green tomatoes, lemon juice, and walnuts, and stir to combine.

Add the sifted dry ingredients, and gently fold in until everything is well combined.

Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top, and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the frosting, by beating together the mascarpone cheese and maple syrup until smooth, then spread over the top and sides of the cooled cake.  Decorate the top with toasted walnuts.

Props courtesy of Stevens Homewares Ltd 

This will be a submission to Sweet New Zealand, inspired by Alessandra Zecchini and hosted this month by Michele at Greedybread.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A


  1. I'm so intrigued by this recipe! I had no idea you could make cake from green tomatoes, but it looks so good. (Your pictures are just fine, please don't worry!) I love the spices in this too - it sounds like a lovely cake.

    1. Thanks, April. It's definitely a surprise, but the green tomatoes really do make a great cake. Beautifully moist, and the flavour is a little like apple.

  2. I am so intrigued by this! We didn't bother growing tomatoes last year because they never ripened the year before, so this year I might have to try again knowing there can be a cake even if the harvest isn't successful!

    1. We have had a fantastic crop of tomatoes this year, but I would grow them again just for this cake :-)

  3. Definitely very different! But when I think about it, it makes total sense. Tomatoes have a very natural sweetness to them, why not use them in a cake? Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    1. Yes, a little different, but it totally, totally works :-)

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  5. Hi Sue,
    Green tomato cake is really delicious, yours looks exceptionally good. If I get around to making one this year, and I should as all of my tomatoes are still green, I'll post it on my blog. The big difference in my recipe is that the everything gets mixed up in a blender, one ingredient at a time, which makes it extremely easy. Of course, your icing is bound to be a lot better than mine.

    1. Thanks, Clare - looking forward to seeing your green tomato cake recipe. Like the idea of anything that can be blitzed up in the blender :-)

  6. I think the cake photos look plenty enticing!!! And I'm so amazed that there are green tomatoes in this...can't wait for them to come back to the markets so I can try this!

    1. Thanks, Joanne. Green tomato is totally the surprise ingredient - a work colleague I shared some with couldn't believe it.

  7. Despite breaking all those rules you listed, it think your pictures and your cake still look great and delicious. Very inviting and made me want to try to make this cake. Yes, I've never tried green tomatoes in cakes...but my rule of thumb is there's a first to everything, right? :) As a blogger myself, I totally get your points in getting the light and ample time to capture the "perfect" pictures for a post. You did a wonderful job on this and can't be too harsh on yourself. I know how good your cake must be when someone want to cut a piece for dinner before you even have a chance to take pictures of it. ;)

    1. Thank you, Amy - you're very kind. I felt exactly the same way about green tomatoes in cake - "first time for everything" and it turned out to be a very happy experiment.

  8. Wow, now I know what I'll be baking with our green tomatoes at the end of next season! It's always a given that our plants are still full of them when the weather turns cold. This is totally unique and looks delicious, especially iced with mascarpone.

    1. Thanks, Hannah. Yes, this is a great use for those tomatoes at the end of the season that haven't ripened.

  9. Lovely Sue. Wish green toms where ready available here in Auckland, only seen them once.

    1. Thanks, Alli. Not easy to get green tomatoes, but is definitely an added bonus of growing your own. Maybe there is a tomato grower in your area that might sell you a few green ones.

  10. You made the cake! I bought some cream to make the mascarpone too, thanks for the recipe :) Catch up soon x

    1. I'm sure you'd love this cake, Nicola, and hope you enjoy the mascarpone xo


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