roman breakfast cake

roman breakfast cake

Why would anybody be turned off at the thought of eating cake for breakfast? Would I ever lead you astray? Of course not, its perfectly acceptable to detour from healthy egg whites for once in your life. 

And I am here to tell you that THIS one is acceptable.

And guess what? This recipe is more like a loaf, so you can all calm down and know that you will enjoy this as much as I did the first time I made it, without the guilt of thinking you're eating dessert for brekkie.

I thoroughly enjoy reading the NY Times Cooking section because not only does it offer up delicious recipes, there is, in most cases, a story behind the recipe. It helps me visualize how the author came up with the recipe and often, I am pleasantly surprised. This recipe I was pleasantly surprised. 

The cake I made and came to love catches the spirit of the one that inspired me. Mine - like its muse - is sunshine yellow and flavoured with lemon - I use both grated zest and freshly squeezed juice.
— Dorie Greenspan, NY Times Cooking

There is something about a lemon cake that I crave. Aside from a banana loaf, its one of the most versatile because they're hard to screw up and lemon is such a delightful flavour and goes with so much. Plus, its summertime when berries are at their best. 

You can add strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Any of them will turn out delicious because lemon compliments the most fruits.

So what are you waiting for? Bake this today and impress the hell out of your mother and remember, follow the method exactly as stated. It's important to do so or else you will feel inclined to blame me for misleading you...and that I am not:)

Roman Breakfast Cake

Butter for greasing the pan
1 ½ cups (204 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
½ cup (120 milliliters) neutral oil, like canola
Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract or oil (optional)
About 1 1/2 cups (about 250 grams) blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries (optional)


  1. Center a rack in the oven, and heat it to 350. Generously butter a 10-inch tube pan (or use a Bundt pan with minimal crannies), dust the interior with flour and tap out the excess. Be assiduous — this cake is a sticker. Alternatively, use baker’s spray.

  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.

  3. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt on medium-high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks. (If you’re using a stand mixer, scrape the whites into another bowl. No need to rinse the mixer bowl.)

  4. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Put the sugar and lemon zest in the mixer/mixing bowl, and rub them together until the mixture is fragrant. Add the yolks, and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed — the batter will be thick, pale and shiny. With the mixer on medium, pour in the oil and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla and lemon oil, if using, then scrape the bowl well. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients and pulse the mixer a few times to start incorporating them. Work on low until the flour is blended into the batter, which will be smooth and thick.

  5. Beat the whites briskly with a whisk (to restiffen them and incorporate any liquid in the bowl), and scrape a few spoonfuls over the batter. Use a flexible spatula to stir them in and lighten the batter. Turn the rest of the whites into the bowl, and fold them in gingerly. If you’re using the berries, gently fold them in just before the whites are fully incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan, and level the top.

  6. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly browned; a tester inserted deep into the cake should come out clean. Transfer to a rack, and wait 5 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake (if possible — it’s not easy with a Bundt), invert onto the rack and unmold. Cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.

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