This recipe jumped out at me while I was looking for recipes to use up the what remained from the pint of buttermilk I bought for last week’s coleslaw. I think it is one of those slightly odd recipes that made The Enchanted Broccoli Forest such an appealing book to me when I was younger. The more practical side of me balks at the number of vegetables a single recipe will call for, but last night I realized that with the exception of cauliflower I had everything we needed for this dish. So I decided that kohlrabi would make a decent replacement for cauliflower (not sure why since they don’t exactly taste the same, but a recent experiment with roasting kohlrabi proved to be very good). It turns out that I was also out of bread crumbs (I suspect they were tossed in my recent freezer reorganization) so I used cracker crumbs instead and I think it marred the appearance of the top slightly, but not the taste.
This recipe is made in a 9 by 13 pyrex pan and says it is 4-6 servings. I invited a few friends over and cut the cake into 12 pieces and the five of us only managed to eat seven squares of “cake”. We actually served it with a cheddar sauce (I was worried it’d be too dry without an accompanying sauce, some preferred it with sauce, some without).
Vegetable Upside Down Cake from Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest
- oil for the pan
- 3 T fine bread crumbs
- 2 T canola oil
- 1 c chopped onion (about 1/2 a large onion)
- 2 c chopped broccoli
- 1 1/2 chopped cauliflower (I used a large kohlrabi, peeled and diced instead)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 3/4 t salt
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup corn (frozen okay)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 T minced fresh parsley*
- 1 t dried oregano*
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- 5 scallions, minced
- 1 c grated cheddar cheese, opt.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prep all your veggies and brush a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with oil and then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the bottom before you start cooking. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet to heat up and then add the onions. Cook until nice and soft (about 5 minutes). Add the broccoli, kohlrabi, carrot and salt; cook another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper, corn, garlic, parsley, oregano. Cook for just a minute or so and adjust the seasonings with the black pepper and cayenne (and salt if needed) and stir in the scallions. Pour the veggies into the prepped baking pan and make the cake batter.
- 1 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 c whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour)
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 3/4 t salt
- 1 t dried basil
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 t dried marjoram or oregano
- 2 t dried dill (or 2 T minced fresh dill)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
- 5 T melted butter
In a medium-large bowl mix together the flour through sugar. Crush the dried herbs in your hands and add those to the flour mixture and stir. In a smaller bowl (or as I do, in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup) beat together the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just barely moistened and incorporated. Pour the batter over the veggies in the baking pan and spread it out evenly, making sure all the veggies are covered. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the toothpick test comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then invert it onto a platter and serve.