Serving familiar flavors in unusual ways is just one of the things that has led Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen’s New York City restaurant, to destination status—and earned her recognition from the Michelin guide. In this video, she pairs tomato cake with whipped feta cream and basil purée for a twist on caprese salad.
Tomatoes actually have a long tradition in baked goods, most notably in tomato soup cake, a recipe likely invented by the Campbell’s Soup company and akin to carrot cake with warm spices and cream cheese frosting. Here, Cohen removes the middle man and loses the spice. It’s a preparation that lets the tomatoes bright acidity shine through. To make it, she creams together butter and sugar, then adds eggs, flour, salt, leavening, and tomato powder (dried, pulverized tomatoes). Since the powder takes a little time—and a lot of tomatoes—Cohen suggests purchasing the ingredient, noting that it is surprisingly easy to source.
She then bakes the cake for about 15 minutes in a sheet pan. Once the cake has cooled, Cohen uses ring cutters to stamp out perfect circles which she then spreads with that luscious feta cream and tops with confit tomatoes. You could also serve this cake at brunch, as a stand-in for English muffins in an otherwise traditional eggs Benedict, send it out with a dessert cheese plate, or serve it as dessert outright with a lemon-mascarpone frosting.