Savory Kale Cake

You could also call this recipe “Getting-Your-Kids-to-Happily-Eat-Kale-Cake” for that in-between age where they go from loving pretty much everything to only wanting meals shaped like monsters or dinosaurs.

As per usual when making cake or bread, this one uses leftover sourdough starter that’s been bouncing around the fridge for a week or three.  And if you aren’t familiar with the art of sourdough – then know it’s a fun kitchen project for children and adults of all ages!  You can easily get started by reading about it here.

Last note before the recipe, the cooking technique is half-way between baking and steaming, which yields a lovely bubbly texture to the finished pan-bread.  Feel free to use it with other cakes and squares of all kinds – I particularly enjoy it to give gingerbread or cornbread a bit of a different twist.

Yield: a 9″x13″ pan

What you need:

  • 2-1/3 cups sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons powdered dry mushrooms (shiitake, forest mix mushroom, morille, porcini or crab mushrooms all work depending on what the grocery store and the wallet allow for)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, arrowroot or kuzu
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (either store-bought or home-blended)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 finely minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a generous 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 packed cups finely shredded kale, any kind (roll the leaves tightly and slice thinly)

What you do:

  1. Whisk together the starter, nutritional yeast, powdered mushroom, cornstarch, Herbes de Provence and salt in a non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl.  If the starter hasn’t been laying around in the fridge for a while, feel free to ferment the mixture for a few hours if desired, although it isn’t absolutely required.  If the starter is older, you can proceed right away.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F and oil a 9″x13″ glass or ceramic baking pan.  Spread the shredded kale over the bottom of the dish in a relatively even layer.
  3. In a small glass or bowl, whisk together the baking soda and olive oil.
  4. Add the minced onion and pressed garlic to the starter mixture and combine.  Add the soda and olive oil emulsion from the glass and stir well with a few brisk strokes.  The batter should begin to bubble and rise as the alkaline soda reacts with the acidic starter.
  5. Quickly pour the batter over the shredded kale in the baking dish, cover tightly with a lid or foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove from the oven, slice and serve, being careful when uncovering as it will be quite steamy inside.

Variations:

  • Swap the kale for any fresh leafy green of choice: chard, beet greens, spinach, collard, turnip greens, radish greens;
  • Swap the kale for finely grated carrot, parsnip or beet;
  • Swap the kale for a package or two of mushrooms sautéed in olive oil;
  • Swap the Herbes de Provence for any spice blend that you like: curry powder, cajun spice, garam masala, etc.

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