Green Tomato Chocolate Cake

Not sure what to do with the last of summer's bounty? When in doubt, make chocolate cake! Tomatoes don't necessarily add flavor to this cake, but they do ensure a moist crumb. This is the sort of cake your grandmother used to make. Make sure your slice is accompanied by a large, tall, glass of ice-cold milk.

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Green Tomato Chocolate Cake
adapted from The Tomato Festival Cookbook (Davis-Hollander)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter (10 1/2 tablespoons) at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup beer (we like to use stout)
  • 1 cup pureed green tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (since moisture content of tomatoes varies)
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Butter a 9x13 baking pan (or place a greased parchment round in the bottom of 2 8-inch round cake pans, then butter and flour the pans)

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in melted chocolate -- and then, one at a time, the eggs. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with beer and tomatoes. If batter appears stiff, add water. (When using ww pastry flour, as we did, you'll most likely need some extra water; if you use all-purpose unbleached flour, it could go either way).

Turn batter into prepared pan(s).
Bake 9x13 pan for approximately 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make a 3-layer round cake, fill one 8-inch round pan with ~2 cups batter. Pour remaining batter into other 8-inch round pan. Bake less full pan for 20-30 minutes. Fuller pan will take 30-40 minutes. Cool cake in pans for 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack.

Cake can be frosted or eaten plain.

OPTIONAL Chocolate Ganache frosting
(makes enough to frost one 3-layer 8-inch cake)
  • 6 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the sides of the pan. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Allow to stand for one minute, then stir to combine. Add vanilla and butter and stir until well incorporated.

Pour chocolate into bowl of an electric mixer. Allow to stand and cool for 10 minutes before proceeding.

When chocolate is cool, add powdered sugar (you may want to do this in two batches). Beat until the frosting is fluffy, thicker, and lighter in color.

This frosting is easiest to spread at room temperature or slightly warmer. If the frosting gets too thick, you can place it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to loosen it up again.

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Ashley said...

This looks really interesting! I would have never thought to put beer, tomatoes and chocolate together (in one dish...) :)

test it comm said...

What an interesting way to use green tomatoes.

Lynne Daley said...

Amazing combination! Looks great!

Katie @ Haute Apple Pie said...

Do you think this would work with non-chocolate cake? I am not a chocolate person but thanks to this summer's wacky weather have plenty of green tomatoes on my hands...

Lo said...

@Katie -
Yes! It would work well as a non-chocolate cake (it's a lot like zucchini bread that way). Would be great with vanilla & cinnamon!

Anonymous said...

I make this cake multiple times a year for birthdays, when green tomatoes aren't in season apple sauce does the job perfectly, nobody can tell the difference ;) Tomorrow I need to make this cake but can't use beer in it trying to decide how it will turn out without it.... ?

Lo said...

Glad to hear you've been enjoying this recipe! I'm fairly sure you can substitute another liquid for the beer in the recipe... but do let us know how it turns out!