Last week my friend, Bobbie, mentioned she had picked all of the green tomatoes from her garden and had put them in boxes to ripen. Question is, will they ripen?
I’m not a gardener, so I don’t know if those green tomatoes in the box will ever turn red. The ones I buy at the farmers market are always ready to eat. I suggested to Bobbie that she could chop up those green tomatoes and stir them into a cake. I had vague memories of a recipe I had clipped years ago. I told her I’d check my recipe box. If she would give me some green tomatoes, I would make her a cake.
I searched through my recipe box until I finally came across a card with the recipe for Green Tomato Fudge Cake. The recipe had been clipped from a newspaper and was taped to the card.
The list of ingredients held some intrigue. Instant coffee, black pepper, rum, green tomatoes — an unusual combination in a chocolate cake. Four ounces of candied orange peel was also included on the list. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find that in my local grocery stores.
At the end of the recipe I found a great surprise. In parantheses, in bold print I saw (Halgrimson is food writer for The Forum). Years ago, I used to take cooking classes from Andrea Halgrimson. She’s not only a wonderful cook, she always has interesting stories to tell and she still writes a food column for The Forum. Andrea has always been an inspiration to me. She introduced me to edible flowers. It was at one of her cooking classes that I ate heavenly chocolate desserts washed down with sips of champagne. The next day I overslept and missed my early morning racquet-ball match. Anyway, I sent Andrea an email to ask her about the cake. She remembers the Green Tomato Fudge Cake. She told me people often put candied orange peel in fruitcake. I don’t make fruitcake. I’ve never searched for candied orange peel.
Bobbie suggested I make my own candied orange peel. She loaned me her copy of Mark Bittman’s "How to Cook Everything." Bittman’s instructions for candied orange peel seemed easy enough to follow. I just wasn’t in the mood for scoring, simmering, scraping, scissoring and sugaring. I used grated orange zest in the cake instead.
The cake is good. You won’t find even a trace of green tomatoes in the baked cake. There’s a hint of bright orange flavor in each bite of this not-so-sweet cake. Coffee, cinnamon and black pepper combine with the cocoa for deep flavor. A shower of powdered sugar over the cake and a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream give the perfect finishing touch to each serving of Green Tomato Fudge Cake.
This cake can be baked in a bundt pan. I divided the batter in half and used a small bundt pan and an antique cake pan that I picked up this summer. I used my no-fail mixture of equal parts canola oil, shortening and flour to coat the inside of the pans. I didn’t want to take any chances of having the cake in the old ruffled pan stick when I turned it out.
Andrea’s Green Tomato Fudge Cake sounds wierd, but tastes great. So, don’t toss those green tomatoes.
Guess what else I found in my box of clippings? A recipe for Chocolate Cucumber Cake. Maybe I’ll try that next.
Oh, and one more thing. I’ll be presenting cooking demonstrations this week that are open to the public. No, I won’t be making cakes with green tomatoes or cucumbers, but I will be sharing some other great recipes. I’ll be at the Women’s Expo in Alexandria, Minnesota tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 8th) doing a program on healthful appetizers from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. On Saturday (October 10th) you will find me in Willmar, Minnesota where I’ll be doing two cooking demonstrations at their Women’s Expo that morning. Come see me.
Andrea’s Green Tomato Fudge Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (or 4 ounces candied orange peel, chopped)
- 2 cups chopped green tomatoes, (remove core from tomatoes before chopping)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup milk
- Powdered sugar, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder and shake pan to distribute evenly.
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add rum, orange zest, green tomatoes and walnuts, stirring after each addition. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk. Stir to mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in peheated oven for about 1 hour or until cake tests done.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Makes 12 servings in some homes, 3 to 4 in others.