Enjoy the rich taste of French savory cake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cake sale with ratatouille is served.

It’s the time of the year when we long for the outdoors. French cuisine chef Yasuyuki Takara recommended cake sale with ratatouille as picnic food. The colorful cake looks almost too pretty to eat.

Cake sale (pronounced sah-lay) is savory pastry originating in France and can be baked using a pound-cake mold. It’s a great snack when you feel a little bit hungry.

“People in France use leftover vegetables and meat from their fridge to make this cake,” Takara said.

The key ingredient for the cake he chose this time was ratatouille, a home-cooked vegetable stew made with colorful vegetables such as red and yellow peppers and zucchini.

Takara gave me a useful tip when making ratatouille for the cake: Remove excess moisture from the ratatouille so the cake dough won’t be too loose. To do so, the ratatouille ingredients must not be stir fried all at once. First, stir fry garlic, onion and diced tomato over gentle heat to make a tomato sauce. Then add peppers and zucchini to the sauce.

“By following these steps, the ingredients won’t end up becoming an overcooked stew but as ratatouille in which the taste of each vegetable stands out nicely,” Takara said.

The dough is also pretty simple. “It goes well with any ingredient,” he said.

The recipe is for a mold measuring 16 centimeters in length, 7 centimeters in width and 6 centimeters in height.

The cake is rich with a variety of tastes, from the natural sweetness of the peppers and the zucchini to the pungent flavors of garlic, onion and cheese. The aroma of oregano is appetizing, too. Arrange the ingredients as you wish and enjoy the cake outdoors. You may find it difficult to stop eating this savory treat.

Cake sale with ratatouille

  • Ingredients:
  • ½ onion (80 grams)
  • A clove of garlic
  • 1 large tomato (140 grams)
  • 1 red pepper (100 grams)
  • 1 yellow pepper (100 grams)
  • ½ zucchini (100 grams)
  • Dried oregano
  • 100 grams bread flour
  • 6 grams baking powder
  • 100ml diary cream (with 38% milk fat)
  • 80 grams beaten eggs
  • 35 grams grated Gruyere cheese
  • Thyme
  • Unsalted butter

  • Directions:
  • 1. Finely chop garlic and onion, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and stir fry them. Add a seeded and roughly chopped tomato, continue to stir fry, and sprinkle a pinch of salt on the ingredients.
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Tilt the pan to see if the excess water and oil are gone.
    The Yomiuri Shimbun
    Add ratatouille when the basic dough is ready.
  • 2. Dice two peppers and the zucchini, add them to the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and two pinches of oregano. Stir fry the ingredients over gentle heat. Tilt the pan to check whether the excess water and oil are gone. If they are, then the ratatouille is done. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • 3. Sift bread flour, 2 grams of salt and baking powder into a bowl. Mix fresh diary cream, which gives extra softness to the dough, with the beaten eggs before adding the mixture to the bowl of flour. Add Gruyere cheese, which will taste even better when heated, and the basic dough is complete. Mix the ratatouille into the dough.
  • 4. Grease the pound cake mold with butter, then pour the dough into the mold and top it with oregano and thyme. Bake for about 50 minutes in an oven heated to 180 C. Stick a bamboo skewer into the cake and pull it out. When there is no dough on the skewer, the cake is done. Remove the cake from the mold, allow it to cool, slice it into an easy-to-eat size and serve.

Altering flavor

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tomato salsa can change the flavor

Ratatouille cake sale goes well with tomato salsa. Put it on a slice of the cake sale, and you can enjoy a refreshing taste with a different kind of deliciousness.

To make tomato salsa, seed a tomato and dice it into 1-centimeter cubes. Mix the tomato cubes with 30 grams of chopped red onion, four pieces of green chili pepper and about 10 grams of cilantro. Dress them with a freshly squeezed lime and 30 milliliters of salad oil. You can also add pepper sauce or salt if you like.