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Ripe, red tomatoes waiting to become desserts

This week's recipes include Tomato Dessert Cake and Tomato Sorbet
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

Local gardens produced a wonderful crop of tomatoes this year but by now, gardeners are wondering how to use the box of ripe tomatoes just waiting to be enjoyed.

In addition to stews, soups, salsas and relishes, ripe tomatoes may be used to prepare a dessert cake and a tart sorbet. Recipes for those two items are included in this week’s column.

• • •

Tomato Dessert Cake

  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp. tomato juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10 cup bundt pan with non-stick spray.

Core and peel tomatoes and cut into quarters. Puree in a blender until smooth. Measure 2 cups of the puree and set aside the remainder.

In a large bowl beat sugars and butter until creamy and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Sift the dry ingredients in another bowl. Alternately, add flour and tomato puree to egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Incorporate fully.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a rack and cool completely.

While cake is still warm, drizzle with glaze made by mixing powdered sugar, vanilla and tomato juice from the puree that has been set aside. Cool completely before slicing.

• • •

Tomato Sorbet

  • 10 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper

Line a large colander with a layer of cheesecloth and set it over a medium-sized bowl.

In another bowl toss half the prepared tomatoes with salt and transfer to the colander. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the colander from the bowl and reserve 3/4 cup of the tomato water/juice. Save remaining juice.

Working in batches, puree the remaining 5 lbs. of prepared tomatoes with the pepper until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a large saucepan. Discard the solids.

Stir in wine, tarragon and basil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until the puree is reduced to 4 cups, about 35-40 minutes.

Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Stir into tomato puree with the lemon juice, pepper and reserved tomato water.

Strain into a pitcher and discard the solids. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill for at least 4 hours.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until set but not rock hard, about 25 minutes.

Scoop into bowls to serve. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Joyce Walter can be reached at 

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