Saturday, August 4, 2012

David Lebovitz's Blue Cheese 'Cake'


Blue cheese is a controversial ingredient.

Everyone has strong feelings about blue cheese. How, when, where, and how often it should be used--if ever.

 Kind of like how people feel about sex scenes in novels. Some people page through the non-sexy bits to get to the sex scenes; others turn past the sex scenes, while others don't mind them so long as they are well-written and part of a decently-written novel with interesting characters.

Similarly, there are people who are obsessed with blue cheese--these are the people who dunk their wings in blue cheese dip so deep they leave orange streaks across the sour cream or order wedge salads, which are pretty much shredded iceberg with half a pound of blue cheese dressing. 

Others blanch at the idea of eating mold and think blue cheese is stinky and weird.  These are the type of people who have neatly-pressed slices of processed cheese in their refrigerator and have a different cleaning product to wash every surface in the house.

Then there are others than like blue cheese as part of a balanced dish--sprinkled delicately on a salad with some olive oil or as part of a cheese 'course.'

What category do I fall into? 

Well...I've been obsessed with making this recipe of David Lebovitz's for quite a while--blue cheese 'cake.' In my humble opinion, the recipe reads more like a quick bread than a cake, but who am I to quibble about definitions when cheese is involved?

Because I liked the idea of serving this rich bread-cake in wedges, I used an 8-inch cake pan rather than the bread loaf pan suggested by David.  Also, I wasn't sure if the people I would be sharing this with ate bacon, so I just used a very good blue cheese and let the cheese shine rather than cluttering up the cake with the other add-ins.

This bread (cake?) was amazing--the mustard and chili powder, along with the yogurt and four eggs gave a wonderful richness that many quick breads lack, and made the bread just as tasty as the cheese.

But what category do I fall into, in terms of my feelings for...blue cheese?  Well, when I was a kid let's just say I ate salads smothered with more cheese than lettuce, and now I'm more of a 'a little bit goes a long way' kind of a girl. I've always read novels cover-to-cover. Although I will go back and read some scenes I particularly like, just as I will surely revisit this 'cake' again.

David Lebovitz's Blue Cheese Bread ('Cake')

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons dried mustard

4 large, beaten eggs
1/4 cup oil (I used canola, David suggests olive oil).
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt

5 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 8-inch cake pan, line bottom with parchment.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, spices, and salt together.
2. Combine eggs, oil, yogurt in another bowl. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Fold in blue cheese.
3. Pour in prepared pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes until top is 'springy' and a toothpick can be extricated clean.  Do not overbake and make sure you test the bread, not the cheese with the toothpick.  Cool and serve in wedges with eggs or a salad for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.

4 comments:

  1. The first salad dressing I ever had was blue cheese (probably out of a bottle) and every salad dressing since has paled in comparison. I would have said I was in the obsessed category, but one time I had a cheeseburger made with gorgonzola and that demonstrated that I'm not. Blue cheese with beef is a gamy combination. On the other hand, I think I could eat this entire round of bread without cutting it into wedges first.

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  2. @Flurrious--I agree with you that all salad dressings pale before the Mighty Blue Cheese. Well, the one exception is Gorgonzola topped with a good olive oil (the house dressing at a now-closed favorite restaurant). I haven't had blue cheese on a burger in many years, I actually don't remember how much I liked it. And yes, cutting this into slices is more of a self-protective mechanism than a necessity...

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  3. I'm not sure where I stand on Blue Cheese, I honestly can't remember the last time I had it. My mother is a blue cheese fiend though. In my head I'm slightly repulsed by the idea, but I'm a big fan of cheese so that wouldn't stop me from trying it again :). Although I'm instantly curious as to how this bread would play with a milder crumbly cheese like Feta (which I love). And to add to the conversation about salad dressing, oil and vinegar :)... buy I'm eye-talian, so I might be biased :).
    Question: 5 ounces weight or volume?

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  4. @Adam--five ounces by weight--it seemed easiest to just ask the cheese guy at the grocery store to measure out five ounces and that amount worked perfectly in the bread. And I do love oil and vinegar--especially on a salad with crumbled blue cheese!

    Feta might work, but it is softer and crumblier than blue cheese. It also has more moisture, so you might need to reduce some of the oil or yogurt in the bread. Gorgonzola would definitely work since it is kind of the Italian, green version of blue cheese..

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