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Our Version of Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake

A slice is being vcut from Cauliflower cake.
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The famous Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake is one of our favourite vegetarian meals to make at home! Lovely served warm with a side salad, and makes amazing leftovers to take to work the next day! We have made a few tweaks to adjust the flavour to just how we like it and served the Cauliflower Cake with Harissa Mayo on the side! But all the credit, of course, goes to Yotam Ottolenghi!

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It is probably not a surprise to anyone that I am a huge fan of Ottolenghi. Having worked at one of his delis in London back in the day, I feel that I was heavily influenced by the way Ottolenghi created and even presented his food. These days, I am miles away from London and only get to enjoy Ottolenghi’s food very occasionally. However, I do have (almost) all of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and often follow the recipes.

One of our absolute favourites is Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower cake!

Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake on a shopping board wit hone slicing missing.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t reduce the amount of oil in the recipe. When I first made the cake, I, of course, thought I knew better and reduced the amount of oil by half. Since the oil was used to sautee the onions, I was adamant to add so much, but soon realised that any cake needs some sort of fat and that the oil in this recipe isn’t only for softening the onion, but acts as fat that makes the cake moist.
  • Cool the onions before adding the rest of the ingredients. If you add your eggs to the hot oil mixture, the eggs will cook – you definitely don’t want that!
  • Line the cake tin (both the bottom and the sides) with baking parchment. Whilst good baking parchments are non-stick, we highly recommend greasing the parchment with butter. It will make it so much easier to remove the cake from the tin and the baking paper, giving you lovely clean sides. Greasing also acts as a sticky surface to hold nigella seeds in place to create a dotted effect.
  • Serve the Cauliflower Cake with some Harissa Mayo (simply swirl a tsp of harissa in 2 tbsp of mayo) and a lovely green salad. It makes a perfect lunch!

Ingredients

Ingredients for the savoury cake on a chopping board.

Step-By-Step Recipe

Break the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Place them in a large pan and pour boiling water over them. Simmer on low heat for approx 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft, but not disintegrating. Drain and let them steam in a colander for a few minutes.

Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, peel the onions and cut a few round slices off one end of the onion (you will use these to decorate the cake). Chop the rest of the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the chopped onion and mixed herbs and saute for 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Your onions should soften but don’t let them brown.

Once soft, remove the onions and oil from the heat and leave them to cool down to room temperature.

At this point, preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Line the base and sides of an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with baking parchment. Melt a knob of butter in a small saucepan, and using a pastry brush, generously brush the bottom and sides with butter. Then sprinkle the sides with nigella seeds and swish them around to distribute them around the sides of the tin. Place the tin in the fridge while you carry on with the cake mixture.

Nigella seeds stuck to the buterred baking parshment lining the cake tin.

Tip the onion with all the oil into a large bowl. Crack in all the eggs, add 2 tsp of harissa and whisk well, then stir in the basil leaves (we keep them whole, but you may choose to chop them up). Add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, grated parmesan, 1/2 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Whisk again.

Add the cooked cauliflower florets and stir them in gently, trying to cover them all in the batter but keeping the florets whole.

Pour the cauliflower cake mix into the prepared cake tin. Arrange the onion rings on top in a decorative manner.

The cake is decorated with red onion rings before baking.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean when cooked.

Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave it at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

What To Serve Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake With?

If you are serving the cake at room temperature, we feel it can definitely benefit from a little sauce. That’s why we love serving this savoury cake with harissa mayonnaise.

For a filling lunch, serve this cake with a bunch of different salads too. We think the following go particularly well with it:

A slice of cauliflower cake on a small brown cake with the rest of the cake in the background.

Recipe FAQs

How To Store Leftovers?

Wrap any leftovers in clingfilm or foil and keep them in the fridge. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving any leftovers. The cake benefits from a sauce served alongside it the next day.

Other Vegetarian Meal Ideas

For other Vegetarian ideas, perfect for lunch, have a look at some of our favourite recipes below:

Recipe Card

A slice is being vcut from Cauliflower cake.

Our Version of Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake

The famous Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake is one of our favourite vegetarian meals to make at home! Lovely served warm with a side salad, and makes amazing leftovers to take to work the next day! We have made a few tweaks to adjust the flavour to just how we like it and served the Cauliflower Cake with Harissa Mayo on the side! But all the credit, of course, goes to Yotam Ottolenghi!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Vegetarian Main
Cuisine Worldwide
Servings 4 -6 portions
Calories 700 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 550 g cauliflower
  • 2 small red onions
  • 85 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 9 eggs medium
  • 30 g basil leaves only
  • 160 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 165 g parmesan finely grated
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Harissa Mayo:

  • 4 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tsp rose harissa we love Belazu

Instructions
 

  • Break the cauliflower into medium sized florets. Place them in a large pan and pour boiling water over them. Simmer on low heat for approx 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft, but not disintegrating. Drain and let them steam in a colander for a few minutes.
  • Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, peel the onions and cut a few round slices off one end of the onion (you will use these to decorate the cake). Chop the rest of the onion.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the chopped onion and mixed herbs and sautee for 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Your onion should soften but don't let it brown.
  • Once soft, remove from the heat and leave to cool down to room temperature.
  • At this point, preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Line the base and sides of an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with baking parchment. Melt a knob of butter in a small saucepan, and using a pastry brush, generously brush the bottom and sides with butter. Then sprinkle the sides with nigella seeds and swish them around to distribute around the sides of the tin. Place the tin in the fridge while you carry on with the cake mixture.
  • Tip the onion with all the oil into a large bowl. Crack in all the eggs, add 2 tsp of harissa and whisk well, then stir in the basil leaves (we keep them whole, but you may choose to chop them up). Add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, grated parmesan, 1/2 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Whisk again.
  • Add the coked cauliflower florets and stir them in gently, trying to cover them all in batter but keeping the florets whole.
  • Pour the cauliflower cake mix into the prepared cake tin. Arrange the onion rings on top in a decorative manner.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean when cooked.
  • Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving. Wrap any leftovers in clingfilm or foil and keep in the fridge. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving any leftovers.
  • To make the sauce, swirl harissa in mayonnaise and serve it alongside the cake.

Notes

Serving: The Cauliflower Cake is best served warm or at room temperature with a fresh green salad, and a yoghurt or mayo-based sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 700kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 35gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 396mgSodium: 1673mgPotassium: 751mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1272IUVitamin C: 72mgCalcium: 726mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Cauliflower Cake, Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake, Savoury Cake, Savoury Cauliflower Cake
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5 Replies to “Our Version of Ottolenghi Cauliflower Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    What a showstopping vegetarian main dish! I love this.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this!! Everyone at my house was impressed!

  3. 5 stars
    I just love your recipes. Always something new to try. This cauliflower cake sounds delicious

    1. Thanks, so kind of you! 💗

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