Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Green tomato cake

Green tomato cake
I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in Vermont, it's definitely fall.

I enjoy the change of season and the feeling of turning inward that it brings. While my wardrobe moves from t-shirts and flipflops to fuzzy sweaters and boots, my mind changes gears from gardening to loading up the bird feeders, reading by the fire and pots of chili and soup.

But when I put the garden to bed, there are always unripened tomatoes. Sadly, they never got their chance to shine and be the star of some salad, sandwich or jam. It seems a shame to just get rid of them, doesn't it?

So I don't. I let them have their moment in the sun, so to speak.

I stumbled across some recipes for green tomato cake a few years ago when I was trying to figure out how to use my green tomatoes -- in something other than fried green tomatoes. (Confession: I rarely ever fry anything -- based solely on the fact that I don't like the mess it makes of my stovetop. Seriously. I will go to great lengths to not clean.) This one is a mish-mash of several, and I'm really pleased with it.

Face it: this is basically a spice cake but it is far more dramatic to announce it as green tomato cake (you'd be surprised how many people make the gross-out face before they try it). The tomatoes are nicely complemented by the raisins and nuts, making it a great choice for breakfast.

While the basic recipe calls for an 8-inch square pan, I have also made this cake into muffins: a very handy grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. You might also want to try using different types of dried fruits and nuts; I can imagine that dates or dried cranberries would be fine substitutions.

Additionally, since the cake doesn't require a lot of tomatoes, go ahead and freeze small amounts of the chopped green tomatoes so you can whip this up throughout the winter.

After you're done loading up the bird feeders, reading by the fire and making pots of soup, that is.

So, did you end up with lots of green tomatoes this year? How are you planning to use them?

The Ninj wants to know.

(This recipe is featured on Snacktime Saturday at Young Nesters and Crunchy Farm Baby.)
Green Tomato Cake
(Note: This recipe is easily doubled but use only 3 eggs instead of 4 and bake it in a 9- x 13-inch pan.)

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins (I used regular and golden)
1 1/4 cups green tomatoes, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients (through the nutmeg) and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla and mix until creamy. In 3 small batches, add the dry mixture to the wet and mix thoroughly. Fold in the nuts, raisins and tomatoes.

Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch square baking pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.


  1. Not being a baking expert, I'm curious if you think this recipe would work with ripe tomatoes...using a meaty variety to stand up to the baking and not be too watery. And how would it be without nuts? Not a fan of nuts in baked goods.

  2. Jenn: I have made it without nuts -- no biggie. You might want to throw in a little additional fruit, though. I've never tried it with ripe tomatoes but, as you mentioned, if you use something like a paste tomato, I think it would be fine. It would change the taste, though, I think. Let me know if you try it!!!

  3. It's just barely fall here in the SF bay--I'm pretty jealous of your actual fall! This cake looks like a great solution to the green tomato problem. :)

  4. I love green tomato relish (sooo good on burgers), but I have no idea how to make it. You could figure that out and let me know. :-)

  5. This sounds really interesting. I can't believe I've never baked with green tomatoes yet! Thanks for sharing at Snacktime Saturday.

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I still have heaps and heaps of tomatoes to use up. I might try doing some baked fried green tomatoes (so I guess they're not fried then--ha), but this cake looks delicious too!

  7. Definitely give this one a try, Kiersten -- if you've got that many green tomatoes, you've got nothing to lose. :-)

  8. Wow, what a great idea. I am not much of a fan of fried green tomatoes but I can never think of anything else to make!

  9. We always just stored the green tomatoes in a cool-ish place... they eventually do ripen!