A surprising way to enjoy spinach.

Healthy eaters are keen to squeeze their greens in wherever possible, but for those who have more of a sweet tooth, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy spinach—without even knowing you’re doing it—than with this traditional Turkish cake.

Spinach cake with mascarpone and pomegranate seeds (serves 4)

Ingredients

Sponge
500g baby spinach
120ml neutral-tasting vegetable oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1tspn vanilla-bean paste
300g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour

Icing
500ml double cream
75g granulated sugar
500g mascarpone cheese
Half a teaspoon vanilla-bean paste
Handful pomegranate seeds

Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and prepare two 18cm by 28cm sandwich tins with baking paper and a light brushing of oil.

Wilt the spinach by putting it in a colander and pouring boiling water over it. Using a food processor, purée this to a fine consistency with the oil, lemon juice and zest—it will take about 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs, vanilla-bean paste and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, then pour in the spinach purée and mix well using a spatula.

Add a pinch of salt to the flour and then fold it gently through the cake mixture. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 15–20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the icing by whipping the cream until almost stiff, then adding the sugar and folding in the mascarpone and vanilla-bean paste. Spoon the icing over one half of the sponge, spreading it evenly with a palette knife. Put the second cake layer on top and spoon more icing over it, spreading it until smooth.

Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the top and serve.

More ways with spinach

Spinach cakeTruffled spinach-and-potato croquettes
This recipe is a great way of using up leftover mashed potatoes. Add 250g of wilted and chopped spinach, 75g of grated Parmesan, seasoning and a drizzle of truffle oil to 450g of cold mashed potatoes and mix well. Using your hands, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into small sausages and dip them in seasoned plain flour, followed by beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. Repeat until you’ve used all the potatoes. Fry in olive oil and butter and serve immediately.

Eggs florentine Dutch baby
Preheat your oven to 180°C and pop a cast-iron frying pan in it to warm. Using an electric whisk, mix together 100g of plain flour, 3 eggs, 150ml of milk and a teaspoon of sea salt. Melt a generous knob of butter in the warmed pan, swirling it all around. Once the batter is frothy, pour it into the pan and bake in the oven for about 20–25 minutes—the mixture should puff up. Five minutes before your Dutch baby is ready, wilt two handfuls of spinach with a little olive oil and seasoning and fry an egg, keeping the yolk runny. Remove the Dutch baby from the oven and top it with the spinach and egg, then serve.

Spinach-and-artichoke dip
Wilt 400g of spinach in a colander using boiling water, then drain well in a tea towel. Mix the spinach with 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 280g of chargrilled artichoke hearts (drained, from a jar), 100g of mascarpone, the juice of half a lemon, 100g of grated Parmesan and seasoning. Coarsely purée using a stick blender, then add single cream to bring it to a dip consistency. Warm in a low oven, using an ovenproof dish, and serve with thin slices of toasted ciabatta.