Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bacon and Blue Cheese Cake



So after talking about cooking for family in my last post, I thought I would share a recipe that I made for a recent early morning birthday party where there were lots of young families.  My good friend Ana's daughter Karolina just turned two years old (yesterday actually!) and we celebrated her birthday at the park this past Sunday.  The skies were a beautiful blue, and the weather was perfect for all the little ones to run around and play while the adults sampled a fantastic spread of brunch-type foods, including chocolate filled crescent rolls, ham and spinach quiche, blueberry scones, and this bacon and blue cheese cake.  


If you were worried, this "cake" was not the one meant for the birthday girl.  I hope it is clear that this cake is squarely planted in the realm of adult-food, and not exactly the type of fare that a two-year old wants to dig her cute, chubby little fingers into.  (And for those curious minds out there, I'll tell you that the actual birthday cake was really awesome; it was rich chocolate cake with blue frosting and a Nemo-esque underwater scene made with gummy fish, sharks, and octopus.  Little Karolina was fearless as she reached right in and grabbed the octopus by the tentacles and devoured it.  I'd like to think that if someone made me a cake like that, I would do the same.)        


This cake is definitely adult-food because it has all these ingredients here: 


  
Oh no, your eyes are not deceiving you.  This cake has eggs, flour, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, green onions, and bacon.  BACON.  I know that as you read through this little list you got pretty excited, but I probably could have just told you that it had bacon and you would have been sold.  I can say that I definitely was, because ever since reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, I have been looking for an excuse to make this cake.  Lucky for me Karolina's early morning birthday party provided me with the perfect opportunity. 




It is actually a little funny that after reading a book by king-of-sweets David Lebovitz, I was lusting after one of the few recipes from the book that has absolutely no sugar in it.  Eh, c'est la vie, I suppose. But look there in my photo; I did use a dish that says "Paris" on it!  Coincidence? I think not. I am definitely planning on making more than a few of his other recipes as well, but this was a fantastic starting point.  



I was a little worried initially because this recipe that I was hell-bent on making gave measurements for some of the ingredients in ounces and grams.  Fortunately for me, I just got this cute little used scale for the bargain price of $5 so it came in really handy.  (There is really no comparison between this type of scale and those fancy digital types, but since I am saving for a new camera and other food items I don't see one of those appearing in my near future.)  Even without any scale, this recipe would still be really easy to make since most cheeses come prepackaged in containers with defined weights marked in ounces or grams, or you can purchase a specific amount from your local grocer or cheese shop.    



I also thought it was interesting that David described this as a "cake," since that is what Parisians would call it.  It is similar in concept to banana bread, zucchini bread, beer bread, etc., in that it is baked in a loaf pan and rises just ever so slightly to a perfectly dense crumb.  But by comparison, it seems to be a linguistic paradox that we assign the term "bread" to those baked goods that have sugar, and yet no yeast, but the french call it like it is and just say "cake."  Are the French better masters of the English language than we are?  Maybe we are both a little confused.  



Either way, this cake is a glorious treat for a weekend morning, or a relaxing weekday lunch.  I loved the beautiful golden brown color of the crust, and the inside is a lovely pale golden yellow that is flecked with bacon pieces and green onions.  I also really enjoyed that David suggested using the extra bacon fat to grease the pan; it seemed really authentic to me, and I tell myself that it gave the crust a more intense bacon flavor, although this might just be a figment of my overactive imagination.  But what was not imaginary, was the irresistible savory scent that filled my kitchen while this was baking.  


I mean, can you resist a cake with bacon and cheese?


And one last thing, The Sweet Life in Paris was a amusing read where every recipe seemed to be better than the last one.  I'll talk more about it in an later post, but in the meantime, pick up this book and read it.  You will learn some truly interesting and comical things about The City of Light, all while laughing yourself silly and drooling over mouthwatering recipes.         


   


David Lebovitz's Bacon and Blue Cheese Cake
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris, by David Lebovitz


I thought this cake was wonderful just as I prepared it, but I wanted to mention a tips for baking.  First, if you are vegetarian but not vegan, simply omit the bacon.  I can pretty much guarantee that the flavor would still be really great since the overwhelming taste was not the bacon, but rather the cheese.   Second, whether you use bacon or not, it is up to you whether you grease the pan with butter or bacon fat.  If you have never tried using the bacon fat, give it a go.  And third, for the baking time, David says to remove the cake from the oven when it is golden brown, and the top "just springs back when you touch it."  If you aren't sure if the cake is done, it probably is; trust yourself and don't over bake it!   


The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City



1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used low fat with no detriment to the taste/texture, although David recommends full-fat)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Generous 1/4 cup minced scallions or chives
5 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese (convert to grams)
2 ounces grated Parmesan (convert to grams)
6-7 strips of bacon, extra fat sliced off and reserved, well cooked, cooled, and chopped into bite-sized pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare a 9-inch loaf pan by greasing the sides and bottom with the reserved fat from the bacon, and then lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.  (If you decide to make this cake and omit the bacon, just use butter here instead.)  Next, in one large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients; in a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the next four ingredients to mix completely.  Make a well in the center of the large bowl with the flour mixture, and add the egg mixture.  Fold to incorporate the egg into the flour, but do not overwork the batter.  Add in the blue cheese, Parmesan, and bacon all at once, and fold into the batter just until everything is mixed.  The batter is somewhat like a big blob, but don't be worried, just scoop it into the prepared pan.  


Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  To test if it is done, look for a nice golden brown color on the top, but the edges of the cake should not be too dark.  If you are not sure, err on the side of less baking time to be sure the cake does not dry out.  


After taking it out of the oven, let the cake cool for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack, and then gently remove it from the pan.  Let it cool completely before attempting to cut it, and then serve in slices, or keep it at room temperature for a few days.     

38 comments:

  1. Now that is one interesting cake! Who doesn;t love bacon and blue cheese and in a cake - amazing. This is a MUST make and I appreciate your tips!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this type of savoury bread too...I could eat them as a lunch with a glass of wine. Marvelous!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had dinner at Melisse last night and one of their bread selections was bacon foccacia. It was great, but I think I like yours better because it has bleu cheese!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow this sounds so intriguing. I've never gone near a savory cake. Love your Paris dish btw, adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like the perfect foil for brunches that are usually filled with nothing but sweets.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a beautiful bread. It must smell wonderful when it's baking - I definitely need to try this. Thanks for the insight on David's book...I've been hedging on adding to my cb collection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This looks like something I can bake and eat it all!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh yumm!! This sounds so tasty. Bacon and blue cheese are a good (not so healthy) combo. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just added the book to my Amazon cart! This "cake" sounds so interesting! I think my mountain man would love it.. thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. With the title of Bacon Blue Cheese Cake, I had too look at this recipe! Ingredients I would never have dreamed of putting together, but with my bacon AND blue cheese loving daughter, we will have to try this.

    ReplyDelete
  11. WOW.. probably one of my favorite flavor combos!! Looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very interesting! I think I will try it, can't go wrong with bacon and cheese!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Holy moly! I would have to try a bite of this (despite not eating meat). Had a tiny taste of a bacon/maple scone and it was pretty awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That is one of the most scrumptious combination! I am drooling...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ahhh, I can totally taste this in my head! Must make this.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is a must bake! It would be perfect for a brunch.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This "cake" just begs to be served with a pair of fried eggs and a bloody mary.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi girl I came to your blog from Lawyer Loves Lunch. I am so glad to have found a fellow PhD candidate.What are you doing your PhD in?

    Lovely blog..looking forward to reading a lot more!

    ReplyDelete
  19. how can you not love a cake that has bacon and blue cheese in it! its a wow!!! Give a nice big salad with that and I would be in heaven!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think we need to come up with a frosting for your glorious cake...just to "top" it all off! Theresa

    ReplyDelete
  21. Absolutely beautiful. I saw Bacon I saw Blue cheese and I was sold. I will definitely be attempting this cake on my blog http://www.breadandsniffit.com. So you got the recipe from The sweet life in Paris? Or did you use that as an inspiration for your own recipe?

    ReplyDelete
  22. So I just re-read your post and answered my own questions silly me! I think I may have to go out and buy this book. Beautiful pictures by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yum,yum yum! This savory bread looks delicious. And you are so right, you had me at the word bacon.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hmmm...looks like bread to me! Whatever it is, I NEED SOME!

    ReplyDelete
  25. It sounds like the perfect kind of cake. Salty and good. The French have another kind of savory cake called cake aux olives. It's also fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The funny thing is that MY 2 year old would care nothing for the chocolate cake (well, aside from the Nemo part) and would go straight for the bacon. We are raising a little bacon addict- and connoisseur too- only the best and perfectly cooked will do. This cake might have exactly her favorite flavor.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yummm, that can only be delicious, everything is more delicious with bacon.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm new to your blog (I followed you from a comment you left at Smitten Kitchen), and I'm really enjoying it.

    I wonder . . . I've never been a fan of bleu cheese. Do you think I could switch it out for something of similar texture? Feta, maybe?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Angie: I agree, a glass of white wine would be perfect with this bread!

    Christina and Evan: I would absolutely recommend getting David's book, it is a great read and at the same time full of awesome recipes. It is 35% off now, so a great deal! Check out my link to get it through amazon.

    Jen: Ahhh, I was thinking something similar about the egg and Bloody Mary... clearly great minds think alike. ;)

    Priyanka: Glad to hear someone else is getting a degree, mine is in Molecular Pathology and Biomedical Sciences. Glad you are enjoying my blog!

    Theresa: A frosting would be awesome, do you have anything in mind??

    Elizabeth: I am always excited to have new readers, welcome to my blog! As for substituting the cheese, someone else actually contacted me about that too. I think feta would be the most appropriate type of cheese to substitute, based on its consistency and taste. I think another cheese, such as cheddar for instance, would taste great but the texture and consistency would be off. I am actually planning to try out this recipe again with feta so I will keep you posted on the results! If you try it with feta before I do, let me know how it turns out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Cakes are most definitely a 'must' here for picnics etc. So many different recipes and variations. You cut them in to cubes and serve them as hors-d'œuvres. Living in Paris and reading his book was a great experience because he was right on target, he had me laughing in the metro while reading his book.

    ReplyDelete
  31. We are on vacation and all sitting around the table, drinking coffee/reading blogs and just decided that we have to make this cake NOW. Luckily we do have all the ingredients here at the beach house!
    LL

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ok so my husband loves you. This is his total favourite food combination. I have to make this now! Otherwise im in trouble... :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Pretty crazy cake, but I would eat it!!


    Jason

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is amazing. Everything in a cake. I can't wait to try this one.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for an excellent recipe !! I discovered some useful information and will suggest your blog for all my buddies.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Nice post. I learn something more difficult on completely different blogs everyday. It is going to always be stimulating to learn content from different writers and follow a bit of something from their store. I'd desire to use some with the content on my weblog whether you don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Used 1/2C full-fat sour cream instead of yogurt. For cheeses: 3.5 oz. gorgonzola and 3.5 of Beecher's Flagship. Otherwise followed the recipe, baked for 50 minutes. Brushed pan and parchment with bacon drippings. Man, this is good. I didn't think the cheese flavor would come through, but I was wrong. This bread would be perfect with a bloody mary, and it tastes just fine tonight with a chardonnay. Easily the best quick bread I've ever made. I would add two pieces of bacon and cut out the salt next time to see how that works...

    ReplyDelete