(Original Post Date: October 10, 2010)
Last week was very cold and gloomy – the perfect time to pull up all the summer tomato plants. Of the six $0.99 tomato plants I bought on sale at Home Depot, one of them ended up being a cherry tomato plant. That single cherry tomato plant ended up taking up the whole yard… its vines had climbed up and over all the other tomato plants, and as of last week, it had taken up roughly 15-20 feet of garden space. As I was pulling up that cherry tomato plant, I collected all the remaining green cherry tomatoes… which turned out to be several pounds worth.
What was I going to do with 3 pounds of green cherry tomatoes??!*?!?%? I set aside half of them on the counter-top to ripen for use later that week. Then I started digging around on google to find a recipe to use up the rest. There were a few recipes for fried green tomatoes. Hmm… no, that’s not going to work for cherry tomatoes. I also saw some intriguing recipes for green tomato pie and green tomato cake. Why not? I made both. Sadly, I do not recommend the green tomato pie. That was a bust. Pretty disgusting actually. But the green tomato cake? It was actually pretty good – sort of like a carrot cake. But I could not see my picky husband eating something called “Green Cherry Tomato Cake”.
So, I called it Green Nightshade Berry Cake! Doesn’t that sound good? Like some kind of exotic treat straight out of Hansel and Gretel… or maybe something that Snow White’s step-mom might feed her? Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought the scary name might be a little bit fun. Interestingly enough, botanically, tomato is in the nightshade family… and the tomato fruit is considered a “berry”, so “Nightshade Berry” is quite an accurate description of a tomato.
Green Nightshade Berry Cake:
- 4 c. chopped green tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1. Measure approximately 5 cups of green cherry tomatoes, or 4 1/2 c. roughly chopped green tomatoes. Dump the green tomato into the work bowl of a food processor.
2. Pulse until chopped, about 10 seconds. Sprinkle with the salt.
3. Set the chopped tomato to drain in a colander over a bowl for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, prepare two 9 inch cake pans by greasing and lining the bottoms with waxed paper. Sift the flour, baking soda, and spices together in a large bowl.
5. Chop the walnuts and set aside.
6. In the food processor, cream the butter and sugar, about 30 seconds. Then add the eggs, and continue to process for 30 seconds longer.
7. With a rubber spatula, dump the butter mixture into the flour mixture, and gently combine for a few strokes.
8. Add the walnuts and drained tomatoes, and mix until just combined. The batter will be somewhat stiff.
9. Divide the batter between the the two cake pans, and smooth down the tops.
10. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
11. Flip each pan onto a cooling rack. Peel off the waxed paper, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
12. Put the first layer onto a plate, top side down. Top with 1/3 batch of cream cheese frosting. Add the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake.