Savoury bakes seem to be controversial for certain people, for some reason. I can’t understand why – if you want a sweet cake, go and have one, but don’t carp on at those of us who like to have something different every now and then!
My favorite savoury baking recipe to date is Dan Lepard’s courgette and mozzarella muffins, but this goat’s cheese, hazelnut and raisin cake recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall could give those trusty muffins a run for their money. I recently acquired a proper loaf tin and quite fancied baking something new in it – and being an avid fan of all things cheese-related, I quickly settled on this recipe.
The recipe has quite a long list of ingredients, but the cake is surprisingly easy to make in spite of this. It uses the method of adding wet ingredients to dry, and the important thing is to not over mix it, much like with muffins.
The resulting mixture is very thick, and I had to push it into the corners of the tin. It baked in 45 minutes as specified in the recipe, which is always nice! (I tend to get fairly distressed when my baking time differs from the recipe).
The first thing that hit me when I opened the oven was the delicious smell of two kinds of goat’s cheese (hard and soft) cooking away. Goat’s cheese is generally very mild, but it seems to become much stronger in flavour after cooking. The texure of the cake is more akin to that of a tealoaf than an actual cake, in my opinion, which is probably down to the lack of butter.
Taste-wise, it’s a bit of a sensation – you can certainly taste the cheese, but the hazelnut chips in before that becomes too overwhelming, and both are nicely complemented by the delicate sweetness of the raisins (which are the big olive-like things you can see in the first picture – they swelled up massively in the oven!).
This was a definite hit and something I would make again. My boyfriend suggested that it would be a nice alternative to bread with soup, and I also think that would work well. I can’t wait to try more savoury cakes – HFW’s recipe for carrot and feta cake will probably be next on my hitlist!
From Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Guardian column here.