Pecorino Romano Cake with Candied Tomatoes

For the candied tomatoes:

3 tablespoons (37 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (12 grams) kosher salt
1/4 cup (25 grams) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to cover the tomatoes
Water, as needed
15 small tomatoes, blanched and peeled

Preheat the oven to 200° F, or the lowest possible setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Add the olive oil and then add enough water to turn it into a wet, sandy slurry.

Toss the peeled tomatoes in the slurry until they’re coated. Take the tomatoes out of the sugary oil and scatter them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 2 hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled but not dry. They should be sweet and candy-like.

Allow the tomatoes to cool and put them in a plastic container. Cover them completely with oil and store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the cake:

1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (60 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (85 grams) finely grated Pecorino Romano (look for the good, sheepy stuff from the Lazio region of Italy)
1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking powder
1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
Turbinado sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325° F and line a quarter-sized sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light, fluffy, and smooth.

Add the eggs and mix until fully combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, salt, and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture and mix until just combined.

Stream in the heavy cream, mixing until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the sheet pan, tipping the pan so the batter is evenly distributed. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool

slightly before serving (the cake will collapse a bit). Slice into squares and top with a couple of room temperature tomatoes in their oil along with a few sprinkles of turbinado sugar. The cake is best warm; re-warm it if serving the next day.

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