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In France, a “cake” is anything that’s baked in a long loaf pan. All sorts of savoury combinations end up in cakes:  shrimp and red peppers, proscuitto and artichokes, chicken and pesto..Savoury cakes travel well. They can go on a picnic or get fancy and join a buffet. You can call this one–with arugula and pine nuts–‘bread’ and have it with a soup or salad course.  Or you can slice it thin and serve it all by itself with a before-dinner drink.

Arugula and Pine Nut Loaf Cake (1 loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 ounces of plain yoghurt
  • 4 cups of arugula, measured by packing it down into a liquid mesuring cup
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan, grated, and several more Tablespoons for sprinkling on top of the cake
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, plus a few Tablespoons for decorating the loaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 3 ounces of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

Equipment:

  • a loaf pan (The loaf in the photo was baked in a 8.5″ x 4.5″ x 3″ loaf pan. Any size pan will work if you adjust the baking time. For a clear explanation of how to do this, click here.)
  • baking paper, also known as parchment paper

Arugula in the garden

 1.  Four cups of arugula is a sizeable amount.  If you have a scale, you can measure 150 grams, and that will be about the equivalent of the four cups. 

2.  Otherwise, press the arugula down into a liquid measuring cup.  Then smash the two cloves of garlic:

3.  Wash the arugula and dry it in a dish towel.  You don’t need to be careful about bruising the leaves, since, after cooking them a little,  they go into the food processor.

4.  Measure the 3 ounces of olive oil into a measuring cup.  Put 2 Tablespoons of it in a pan big enough to hold the lettuce and heat it.  Add the smashed garlic cloves and the arugula leaves and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes:

5.  Grind some salt and fresh pepper over the wilted arugula:

 6.  Put the arugula and garlic in a food processor and grind them roughly by using the pulse button.  Put this aside to cool while you make the cake batter.

7.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

8.  In one bowl, mix together the flour and the baking powder.  In another bowl, mix the eggs with the yoghurt, the rest of the olive oil, the sugar and a pinch of salt.  Gradually add the flour to the egg mixture: 9.  Stir in the arugula and garlic, and any liquid they have formed from being ground.  Add 3/4 cup of Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of pine nuts:

10. Put the batter in the pan.  Spear the top with little pine nuts and sprinkle it with Parmesan:

11. It is ready to put in the oven:

12. Bake the cake for 50 minutes.  The top of the cake will not be smooth.  The loaf is spongy, not dry, and deflates a little as it cools:

13.  Cool the cake and slice it:

A Note:  This cake is an adaptaion of one found in the French cooking magazine, Cuisine Actuelle, whose editors suggest taking one of these savoury cakes on a picnic-first slicing it, then putting it back in the pan, covered, to transport.

 Arugula and Pine Nut Cake is included as an hors d’oeuvre in the Dinner Menu: A Welcome Dinner for an Out-of-Town Visitor who has Traveled Far.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011

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