Savory Cauliflower Cake

Adventurous cooks, here's a challenge, a cake that's savory not sweet, in fact, it's entirely sugar free and thus more bread-ish than cake-ish. It's strewn with creamy bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan, extra-pretty in appearance with a moist and sturdy crumb. If you're looking for a savory breakfast bread that's a little bit different but also works throughout the day, this would be an excellent choice for a Mother's Day brunch, a summer meal, a Meatless Monday, even a park-bench picnic. Challenge accepted? Read on!

Savory Cauliflower Cake ♥, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan.

A Bakery-Style Savory Cake, Made from Scratch At Home. Sugar Free, No Added Sugar. Whole Food, Fresh & Inventive. Fun Picnic Food. A Pretty, Even Dramatic Appearance. Budget Friendly. How to Feed a Crowd. Potluck & Party & Picnic Friendly. Vegetarian.

Sizing Up a New Relationship Savory Cake

All day, on Easter, I talked to this cake, back 'n' forth, back 'n' forth.

It sounded a lot like head-talk for a new romance: an initial rush of attraction, the pang of early disappointment but still, letting the relationship unfold over time, opening up extra chances to win me over, and finally, falling completely, totally, unstoppably in love.

Here's how it went.

  • Going into the oven, "You are so pretty, I hope you taste good!"
  • Out of the oven, hot. "Hmm. I thought you would be more eggy. You know, like for breakfast, definitely eggs but with a twist. But you are definitely cake, albeit savory. And honestly? I'm not sure that's a good thing."
  • The first slice, still quite warm. "Yeah, you are definitely too cakey. Next time, I'll cut the flour way back for something more like a Spanish torta."
  • A second mini slice, room temperature. "You're the best a hot chef can do? What's all the fuss about, you are just a fancy Bisquik pie!"
  • After a few hours left on the counter. "Wow! I love how moist you're getting! And now I can really taste the parmesan! And the cauliflower, you really know it's there! Your texture is perfect, you really 'are' a cake! And that's a very good thing!"
  • After cutting off two or three more skinny slices. "Wow. You are amazing. And so sturdy, I'd like to take you to an outdoor meal. Better yet – on a picnic on a blanket some warm summer night, with glasses of chilled white wine and fresh fruit. Or on a footed platter for brunch!"
Savory Cauliflower Cake ♥, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan.

So yes, while Savory Cauliflower Cake turned out to be more cakey than eggy and it took some time for the flavors to meld to really appreciate its synergies, I fell head-over-heals in total l-o-v-e with it in the course of an afternoon.

Once again, cauliflower surprises and delights!

The recipe comes from Israeli-born Yotam Ottolenghi, the hot UK restaurant owner and chef, also the author of two of my favorite cookbooks, Jerusalem: A Cookbook and the vegetarian Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi – although this recipe was published in his weekly column in UK newspaper The Guardian. I bookmarked his Cauliflower Cake eons ago but it wasn't until Easter that the occasion seemed right.

Timing is everything, right? In relationships and this time, in cauliflower cakes.

What's In a Savory Cauliflower Cake? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Produce 2 pounds whole cauliflower + 1 onion + 4 mini peppers + fresh chive
  • Dairy butter (for pan) + 8 eggs + 2c grated Parmesan
  • Pantry olive oil + flour + baking powder + sesame seeds (optional)
  • Seasoning turmeric + salt + pepper
Savory Cauliflower Cake ♥, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan.

How to Make This Savory Cauliflower Cake

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in six easy steps. You can do this!

  • COOK CAULIFLOWER FLORETS in well-salted water, then drain.
  • GENTLY SAUTÉ onion and rings of colorful mini peppers.
  • MIX THE BATTER by hand, no mixer required, stirring in the cooked cauliflower and cooked onion.
  • TURN THE BATTER INTO a springform pan that's been buttered and lined with sesame seeds.
  • GARNISH the top of the cake with rings of mini pepper and fresh chive. Be creative!
  • BAKE for about 40 minutes at 350F.
  • SERVE hot, warm or (my favorite) at room temperature after the cake has rested for a few hours.
Savory Cauliflower Cake ♥, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan.

Here's What's NOT In This Recipe

Sometimes, what's left out of a recipe is just as important as what's put in. That's definitely the case here.

  • No Sugar! This is a savory cake studded with bits of cooked cauliflower and grated Parmesan.

What Makes This Recipe Special

Why would anyone go to the trouble of making Savory Cauliflower Cake from scratch? Here are a few reasons. Why do you make it? Let me know in the comments!

  • A savory substitute for muffins or scones or other sugary-sweet breakfast breads.
  • Easy to transport to a brunch, potluck, even a picnic.
  • Very pretty appearance!
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe for an unusual savory cake inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Savory Cauliflower Cake ♥, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan.


Hands-on time: 1 hour
Time to table: 2 hours but best when left to rest at least 6 hours
Makes 1 large cake, serving about 16 (easy to halve, for a smaller pan)
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional but a nice finishing touch, white and black are dramatic
  • Well-salted water
  • 7 cups small cauliflower florets (about 21oz/600g)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 sweet mini peppers, sliced thin
  • 8 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup chopped chive
  • Cooked Onions, cooled
  • 2 cups (250g) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 180g
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooked, drained cauliflower
  • Cooked Pepper Rings
  • Fresh chives

Set oven to 350F/180C. Butter the bottom of a 10-inch/25cm springform pan, cover the bottom with a circle of parchment and butter the parchment. Butter the sides of the pan, press sesame seeds onto the pan's sides. Refrigerate to keep the sesame seeds attached to the sides.

CAULIFLOWER Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, drop in cauliflower and let cook until quite soft but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

ONIONS & PEPPERS In a skillet, heat the oil until shimmery, add the onions and peppers and let gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are cooked but not turning color. Lift out the Cooked Pepper Rings and set aside for garnishing the cake. Let the Cooked Onions cool.

SAVORY BATTER In a large bowl, whisk the eggs very well. Stir in the chive and Cooked Onion.

Separately, stir together the parmesan, flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. Turn the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing just until combined, it's okay for bits of flour to remain visible for now.

Turn in the cauliflower, distributing throughout.

GARNISH Turn the batter into the springform pan, smoothing the top. Arrange the Cooked Pepper Rings and chives on top.

BAKE for about 40 minutes until the cake is set, the edges beginning to pull away from the sides.

TO SERVE To serve hot, let cool for 5 min, cut into slices and serve. To serve warm, let cool for 30 minutes, cut into slices and serve. To serve at room temperature (my favorite), let rest for about 6 hours (cover after the cake is fully cool), then slice and serve. Best the same day.

NO SESAME SEEDS? Just dust the sides of the springform pan with finely ground cornmeal.

NO MINI PEPPERS? Substitute another vegetable, perhaps grated carrot, say, or bits of broccoli. Since these are used for the top of the Cauliflower Cake, aim for something with pretty color and interesting shape.

ABOUT SERVING SIZE Serving size is a little hard to gauge, here. I'm going with 16, which I think would be a "side" serving, say with bacon and fruit salad for breakfast but in a buffet (or that dreamy picnic I keep coming back to) I think people would slice off much thinner slices, so that would mean 32 or even 40 slices. That's a lot, I know! That's why next time I make this, I'm going to convert the recipe to fit a smaller springform pan.

ALANNA's TIPS For 7 cups cauliflower florets, start with about a two-pound head of cauliflower. The cake does deflate a bit as it cools but keeps a nice impressive height, perfect for a buffet table. The inspiring recipe called for red onion and used curves of uncooked red onion to grace the top. On mine, I used a mix of the bright peppers and chive but later wished I'd taken advantage of the beauty of sliced cauliflower. Be creative! The recipe also called for sautéing the onion with a sprig of fresh rosemary and added fresh basil to the batter. With such a late spring, our summer herbs aren't even in pots yet – except chive, which wintered over, so chives it would be. Chives were perfect. Extra-observant readers will note that the ingredient list includes turmeric but the pictures don't show its characteristic saffron color. For good reason: I forgot it! Is it optional? Probably, though the color would be extra-pretty. I think this cake would be an excellent canvas for "painting" —just search "focaccia bread art" for inspiration.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, assumes 16: 190 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 119mg Cholesterol; 461mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 2g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 11g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1/2 slice (6g protein).
Recipe adapted from Cauliflower Cake in The Guardian.

Love the Many Incarnations of Cauliflower? Me Too!

A head of cauliflower, linked to recipes calling for cauliflower ♥
~ cauliflower recipes ~
Quick Cauliflower (or Broccoli) Soup ♥, fast, delicious soup made with five ingredients. Broccoli or cauliflower.

Cauliflower Risotto ♥, an easy risotto with cauliflower, bacon, fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs, another easy summer salad ♥, just steamed cauliflower tossed in a vinaigrette with fresh herbs.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cauliflower recipes ~
~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Hi! What a coincidence! I cut the recipe out of the Guardian magazine and it has been sitting in my recipe file since 2010. Just before Easter this year I got it out and tried it,liked it and made it again for a bring and share lunch.I agree that the whole recipe goes a long way, but it keeps well in the fridge and then is ready to eat cold,or room temp or re-heated. So basically a really useful recipe.

  2. Maxine5/07/2014

    That's a winner, Alanna. Cant wait to make it...

  3. Erica ~ Oh how funny is that! I’m so glad you liked it too. Obviously I became quite smitten!

    Maxine ~ Thanks, Maxine. I thought this recipe just might appeal to you!

  4. I'm dreaming of soup with this! This just seems so right ... the only thing I'm wondering is if a touch of corn meal substituted in for a bit of the flour wouldn't be nice. Have to try this one.

  5. Tanna ~ Oooo, I love your cornmeal idea!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna