Roasted broccoli, chilli and ricotta cake

Sick of zucchini slice? Try this broccoli cake.
Sick of zucchini slice? Try this broccoli cake. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

Imagine if the ubiquitous zucchini slice and everyone's favourite Ottolenghi salad, char-grilled broccoli and chilli, had a baby. This is what you'd get. My teenage nephew, who claims to hate broccoli as well as eggs, reluctantly tasted this when I gave my sister the recipe. He had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients

300g broccoli, florets and stems cut into 2-3cm pieces

140ml extra virgin olive oil

2½ tsp sea salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

2 large cloves garlic, peeled, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced

1½ long, mild red chillies, thinly sliced

1 small onion, peeled and grated

1 lemon, zested

​ 4 eggs, lightly beaten

40g parmesan, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling, finely grated

200g ricotta cheese

120g self-raising flour

salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Line the base of a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.

2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the broccoli for 1 minute. Drain the broccoli and transfer to a large oven tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt flakes and a few turns of the pepper mill. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C (180C fan-forced).

3. While the broccoli is roasting, pour the remaining olive oil (you should have about 100ml) in a small saucepan, add the garlic and half of the sliced chillies (the other half will be sprinkled over the cake before it goes into the oven), then place over low heat to infuse. When the garlic just begins to colour, about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Remember that the garlic will continue to cook off the stove, so don't allow it to get too brown before removing from the heat. Once cool, strain the oil and discard the garlic and chilli.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted broccoli, grated onion and lemon zest. Add the eggs, the cooled infused olive oil and the grated parmesan, then crumble over the ricotta cheese and season with 1½ teaspoons of sea salt flakes. Add the flour and fold gently until just combined.

5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and use a small spatula to smooth the surface. Sprinkle over the 1 tablespoon of extra parmesan cheese and the remaining sliced chillies. Place into the oven for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before releasing from the cake tin onto a serving plate.

Tip: the cake is best served warm or at room temperature. It can also be wrapped in cooking foil and refrigerated for up to 3 days.