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Dome Tofu Cake With Mushroom-Seitan Stuffing and Gravy

  • 1/15
    Dome Tofu Cake With Mushroom-Seitan Stuffing and Gravy
  • 2/15
    Stuffing ingredients: soy sauce, mushrooms, celery, seitan, parsely, onion, and garlic
  • 3/15
    Transfer the tofu mixture into the colander, and press it down gently with your hands.
  • 4/15
    Place it on a big plate, or rest it over a stockpot, to catch the excess liquid from the tofu.
  • 5/15
    Fold the extra cheesecloth over the top of the tofu, place a plate on top, and weight it down with a can or some other heavy object.
  • 6/15
    Sauté the stuffing, stirring frequently, until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • 7/15
    With your hands, starting in the middle and moving down and to the sides, carefully scoop the tofu out, leaving about a ¾-inch-thick layer all around.
  • 8/15
    Using a slotted spoon so as to transfer only the solid parts, dish the stuffing inside the cake cavity and pack it down well. Leave about a ¾-inch space at the top.
  • 9/15
    Seal with the dug-out tofu.
  • 10/15
    Place the baking sheet on top of the colander, parchment side down, and quickly flip the colander upside-down. With a pastry brush, brush the cake all over with the glaze.
  • 11/15
    Cover the cake tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.
  • 12/15
    Prepare the gravy. While the cake is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • 13/15
    Add the mushrooms, dried thyme, soy sauce, vinegar and water.
  • 14/15
    Partially cover with a lid and simmer, stirring frequently, until soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • 15/15
    Transfer the mixture into a blender, and blend until smooth.

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Nov 19, 2015

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Dome Tofu Cake With Mushroom-Seitan Stuffing and Gravy

Assertive and remarkably flavorful, this savory, two-layer cake is a cool, show-stopping dish. Adapted from a recipe by macrobiotic teacher Jessica Porter, it’s an ideal vegetarian main for those who skip the bird on Thanksgiving.

Under a feathery, herb-seasoned layer of tofu hides the surprise of a delicious, mouth-watering stuffing, redolent of fresh parsley and composed of earthy mushrooms, chewy seitan and crisp celery.

The preparation requires a few steps and a little planning, but it’s relatively easy and fun. The day before, you will place the tofu in a colander and let it rest in the fridge, so it releases as much water as possible. The next day, remembering your childhood playtime in the sandbox, you will dig out a small hole, fill it with the stuffing, and roast it in the oven. You can call it Tofurkey!

The most important equipment is the colander, because it determines the final shape of the cake. Ideally, it should be nicely rounded and not too big or wide; otherwise, the cake will be flat. Aim for a small to medium colander—that way you’ll fill it all the way to the top, and even if you end up with some extra tofu, you can make a scramble with veggies for breakfast the next day. The one I used measures eight inches in diameter and holds about six cups of liquid.

Also, seitan is made from wheat gluten, so if you eat a gluten-free diet, use the same equivalent of cooked rice. 

O

  1. Serves 6–8
  2. 4½–5 pounds firm tofu
  3. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  4. ½ cup fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
  5. Stuffing
  6. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 cup yellow onion, peeled, small dice
  8. 2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  9. 1¼ cup seitan, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  10. 2¼ cups crimini or white button mushrooms, caps only, small dice
  11. 1¼ cup celery, finely sliced (about 4 celery ribs)
  12. ¼ cup fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
  13. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  14. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  15. Glaze
  16. 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  17. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  18. Gravy
  19. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  20. 3 cups yellow onion, peeled, small dice
  21. 3 cups crimini or white button mushrooms, caps only, chopped
  22. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  23. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  24. Dash of vinegar
  25. 1 cup water

1

Prepare the cake. One day prior to cooking it, drain the tofu, break it down to smaller pieces, and place it in a large bowl. Using a hand-held blender, blend the tofu until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, blend it in a stand blender or mash finely with a potato masher. Stir in the soy sauce and parsley.

2

Line a small to medium colander with a layer of cheesecloth, making sure there are about 6 inches of extra cheesecloth around it. Place it on a big plate, or rest it over a stockpot, to catch the excess liquid from the tofu.

3

Transfer the tofu mixture into the colander, and press it down gently with your hands. Fold the extra cheesecloth over the top of the tofu, place a plate on top, and weight it down with a can or some other heavy object. Place the tofu mixture in the refrigerator for minimum 8 hours or overnight to release as much excess liquid as possible.

4

Prepare the stuffing. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 6–8 minutes. Add the seitan, mushrooms, celery, parsley, soy sauce and black pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft, about 15–20 minutes. Add 2–3 tablespoons water if the mixture seems too dry or sticks to the skillet. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5

Prepare the glaze.Whisk the sesame oil and soy sauce in a small bowl until emulsified. If you need to make more, use two parts sesame oil and one part soy sauce.

6

Assemble the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

7

Take the colander out of the refrigerator, remove the weight and the plate, and unfold the top cheesecloth layer.

8

With your hands, starting in the middle and moving down and to the sides, carefully scoop the tofu out, leaving about a ¾-inch-thick layer all around. Your goal is to dig out room for the stuffing, but at the same time keep the cake walls thick enough to hold the stuffing in.

9

Using a slotted spoon so as to transfer only the solid parts, dish the stuffing inside the cake cavity and pack it down well. Leave about a ¾-inch space at the top.

10

Set ½ cup of the dug-out tofu aside and place the rest over the stuffing, creating the bottom layer of the cake. Smooth it out evenly with the back of a spoon.

11

Place the baking sheet on top of the colander, parchment side down, and quickly flip the colander upside-down. Remove the colander and the cheesecloth layer. If there are any cracks in the cake, patch them with the extra tofu.

12

With a pastry brush, brush the cake all over with the glaze. Cover the cake tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 60 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil, brush again all over with the glaze, and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

13

Remove from the oven and let sit for 60 minutes before cutting it.

14

Prepare the gravy. While the cake is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 6–8 minutes.

15

Add the mushrooms, dried thyme, soy sauce, vinegar and water. Partially cover with a lid and simmer, stirring frequently, until soft, about 25–30 minutes. Transfer the mixture into a blender, and blend until smooth. Add water if the gravy is too thick. Add extra soy sauce and/or vinegar to taste.

16

Slice the cake into wedges, and serve with the gravy.

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