Today, I turned 25 years old. As I sit here writing this blog post at 7am, before work, I’m reflecting on having reached this milestone. In high school and college, I had a steadfast rule about not going to school on my birthday – just as a small gift to myself. Last year (my first year as a full-time employed adult), my birthday fell on a Sunday, so I had the day off by default. This year, my birthday’s on a Monday and I did not even consider taking the day off until I remembered the rule just now. It’s always a bit melancholy to reflect on another year’s passing, but I guess one can’t stay 15 forever, cutting school to watch The Maury Show and eat Chinese takeout (I’m such a rebel). So there I have it – I’m officially grown-up.
Now about this cake. “Cooking From Cookbooks” is a new series I’m excited to explore. Although I own many cookbooks, I mostly use them for inspiration, usually flipping through them while procrastinating at my desk. I figured cooking recipes directly from cookbooks would help me learn new techniques and try out recipes I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. And what better way to inaugurate the series than with David Lebovitz (whom I actually got to meet this weekend!). I’ve been ogling his gorgeous My Paris Kitchen for months, but this recipe comes from The Sweet Life in Paris, his hilarious piece of non-fiction written several years prior. The new technique here is the idea of a savory cake. It is not a ‘cake’, per se, rather a savory quick bread.
It’s actually quite ironic that I’m posting a cake recipe on my birthday. Although it’s not particularly festive, it’s totally appropriate since sweets are not my thing. I’d take a pizza pie instead of a sweet one, or a bacon and blue cheese cake instead of a buttercream-frosted one any day.
This cake boasts an intensely cheesy flavor and that signature bacon smokiness, which will make you wonder where this cake has been all your life. David suggests serving it as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of chilled wine; I prefer it for breakfast (slathering of butter optional*) with coffee. I’ve also enjoyed it with soup for dinner. Please note that I did make some adaptations to this recipe, using some whole wheat flour instead of all white, a bit less cheese, and only four strips of bacon instead of the recommended eight, in my never-ending attempt to make everything a little healthier.
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup full fat plain yogurt
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- About ¼ cup chopped chives, scallions or dill
- 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- Place bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy, flipping at needed, 6-7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat in skillet.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, olive oil, mustard and herbs until smooth.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until combined. A bit of flour should still be visible – do not overmix. The batter will be thick.
- Crumble bacon into pea-sized bits and fold into batter along with blue cheese. Do not overmix.
- Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with reserved bacon fat and line with parchment paper. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until top is golden brown and the cake springs back when you gently touch the center.
- Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then turn it out into a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. The cake will last up to 4 days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic.