Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

My favorite cookbook of 2014 is “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottonlenghi. This dynamic, flavor-packed cookbook is WOW from the first page to the last. I drooled over every photo. The recipes are fresh and vibrant with an ethnic spin. It really made me rethink how to use vegetables. It is the perfect way to start the new year.

I have made this cauliflower cake recipe 5 times and have taken it to 4 parties. Don’t let the name cake fool you. It is a savory dish that resembles a frittata or crustless quiche and is served at room temperature, which makes it a natural for potlucks, picnics and parties. This cake is my current favorite recipe in Yotam’s latest cookbook.

I purchased a ticket to hear Yotam speak at a LIVE TALKS LA event while he was in Los Angeles.

Ottolenghi's Plenty More

He was as charming as his recipes are delightful. You can watch the interview by clicking here.

I was so inspired by his recipes that I planned an “Ottonlenghi-inspired” dinner party. I prepared 10 different recipes and to my surprise each guest chose a different dish as their favorite of the evening.

The meal was vegetable varied, creatively colorful and delightfully delicious. And no one missed eating meat!

Today’s Recipe:

The cauliflower cake is easy to make. I just wanted to add a few notes.

Use the ends of the onions to get the different size rings. One side shows off the beautiful purple color.

Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

When placing the parchment paper in the springform pan, butter the pan first so the parchment sticks to the pan. Then butter the inside so the seeds will stick.

Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

Mix the batter, but don’t over do it. Fold in the cauliflower.

Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

Once you pour the thick mixture into the springform pan arrange the onions on the top and lightly push them down. This will help keep them from burning.

Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

Once it cools the parchment paper easily pulls away, revealing your colorful masterpiece.

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
This savory cake travels well making it perfect for potlucks, picnics or buffets. It is a wonderful dinner served with a salad as well.
  • 1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1¼-inch/3-cm florets (1 lb/450 grams)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled (6 ounces/170 grams)
  • 5 tablespoons/75 ml olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 7 eggs
  • ½ cup/15 grams basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup/120 grams all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 ounces/150 grams coarsely grated Parmesan
  • Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (I used black sesame seeds)
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.
  3. Cut 4 round slices, each ¼ inch/5 mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.
  4. Line the base and sides of a 9½-inch/24-cm springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.
YIELD:Serves 4 to 6
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME:1 hour 50 minutes

My girlfriend Christina from Christina’s Cucina brought me a gorgeous thistle tea towel back from Scotland. I thought the colors would make a pretty backdrop for this stunning savory cake. It wasn’t until I was reviewing the pictures that I saw Mr. Cauliflower Head appear… Oh No!

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake | She Paused 4 Thought

I will be serving this cake on it from now on just for giggles.

When a dish tastes good, travels well and makes you smile inside and out, that recipe is a keeper.
…and then, she paused for thought.


About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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37 Responses to Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake

  1. Priscilla - She!s Cookin' January 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Ottolenghi is the master of vegetables! How cool that you met him and got a photo op :)) I need to make this / and Mr. cauliflower reminds me of Wilson :))

    • Cathy Arkle January 12, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

      Wilson – YES! I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the photo. I have no idea how I missed it when I was shooting it. It was so much fun to meet one of my cookbook heroes.

  2. Julie January 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Looks so delicious I could faint – can’t wait to try making it sometime! Thank you Cathy your creativity is inspiriational! Love, Cousin Julie

    • Cathy Arkle January 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks Julie! You will love this recipe. Happy Birthday!

  3. SusanCooksinFrance January 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    Cathy, only you would notice Mr. Cauliflower Head. I love it. More than that, this recipe looks stunning and I cannot wait to make it!


    • Cathy Arkle January 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      Thanks Susan, this recipe is a keeper. I want to experiment with using different vegetables, but I keep thinking, why mess with perfection. 🙂

  4. Natalie January 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    I love this Cathy! That “cake” was sooo great at the cookie exchange. I can’t wait to make it myself. Love adding more veggies to the diet!

    • Cathy Arkle January 12, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

      So glad you loved it Natalie. It is a wonderful recipe.

  5. Linda January 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    A photo op with one of your cooking heroes IS no small thing! For you to be captivated by a recipe book from start to finish is highly unusual for you so it HAS to be extraordinary because you’ve seen tons of recipes and books!! This healthy and colorful dish takes veggies to a whole new level!

    • Cathy Arkle January 15, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Yes Linda is was very special for me. Everything that I have cooked from this book so far has been wonderful.

  6. Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy January 14, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    This dish is a stand out- delicious and gorgeous. I just pinned it because I can’t wait to make it myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Cathy Arkle January 15, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks Dana, I know you will love this recipe.

  7. lynne @ cookandbemerry January 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    I, too, have looked at the gorgeous photos in his cookbooks and longed to make every recipe. Your dish is so pretty and colorful!

    • Cathy Arkle January 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks Lynne! I haven’t found a bad recipe yet. And they turn out like the photos which makes me very happy.

  8. sippitysup January 20, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    He looks like Mr. Bill. Do you remember him? Oh nooooooo, you’re probably to young. GREG

    • Cathy Arkle January 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      Greg, that is who I thought of but I didn’t know if anyone would remember him.

  9. mysfkitchen January 22, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Wow! I have never seen one of these before, it looks beautiful!!

    • Cathy Arkle January 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

      It is a great recipe that I think has the potential of being very versatile with adding different vegetables.

  10. CC January 23, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    How did I miss this post! LOVE the Mr. Bill onion cauliflower head! Totally see that and it cracks me up! I can attest to the deliciousness of this creation, as well as it’s beauty (not to mention purple is my favorite color, so it’s just 5 stars all around!) Another stunner! Great job, Cathy!!

    • ShePaused4Thought February 16, 2015 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks Christina. Your beautiful tea towel really brought out the colors of this fun dish.

  11. nusrat2010 February 2, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    Such genius use of Cauliflower! I feel safe when I copycat only my Mom’s recipes 🙂 I’m not a daring cook at all. But sometimes some ‘exotic’ recipes inject such strong gush of adrenalin rush into my brain and spine that I dash off to the kitchen and cook it and brag about it to my Mom 😀

    This is one such inspiring recipe. Thanks a bunch, dear Kathy, for introducing us to the great recipe-developer and the cookbook author.

    Show-stopper pictures 🙂

    • ShePaused4Thought February 16, 2015 at 9:06 am #

      I do hope you were inspired to make this recipe. I think this recipe is wide open for interpretation and I know you would give it new life with some other exotic spices.

  12. Nan February 10, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    I made the recipe and it was both beautiful and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Leslie Macchiarella February 16, 2015 at 1:58 am #

    Now there’s a beauty if I ever saw one! And you and Yotam too! 🙂 P.S. I love the way you wrapped your little lovely with white and black sesame seeds!

    • ShePaused4Thought February 16, 2015 at 9:04 am #

      Leslie, I think you need to add this savory cake to your collection!

  14. sippitysup March 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    I made this OMG! GREG

  15. Mary Platis April 28, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    I love this book as well – but haven’t tried this recipe! Your post was beautiful – Great pic with the author!

    • Cathy Arkle April 30, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks Mary, it is my it is my favorite recipe & favorite book of his next to Jerusalem. I would love to know what your favorites are!

  16. Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy September 15, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Cathy- I’m going to make this next week. Do you think I can leave out the turmeric or can you think of a suitable substitute? Thanks, Dana PS- I love that you got your photo Ottolenghi.

    • ShePaused4Thought September 15, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

      Dana I think you can safely leave it out. I am a huge turmeric fan, but don’t think it essential to the dish. If you want to substitute, the next closest I would suggest is saffron.

  17. lindy November 24, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    Hi do you think I can use coconut flour instead of all purpose


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