In the older days, all Cypriot housewives had a family recipe for this cheesy cake, which was mostly done with “halloumi” since it was readily available and always in their fridge. My mom still makes it like that. She flavours it with a lot of fresh mint and one bite of this cake brings me back to my childhood in an instant. At some point in my culinary adventures, my friend Myrna, a brilliant cook (who also happens to be my culinary soul-mate), gave me another recipe for this cake. Besides the “halloumi”, she adds feta and edam cheese. The result is a denser cake with tangy bites of feta cheese and the creaminess of the edam. It’s absolutely delicious.
I had to incorporate courgettes in this savory cake. They work so well with cheese and mint, especially feta cheese and halloumi. I added walnuts for a nice crunch and raisins for extra moisture and sweetness. This cake is a keeper.
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup courgettes, coarsely grated (about 1 large, or 1 ½ medium)
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup halloumi cheese, grated
- ½ cup edam cheese, grated
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbs fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- 1 Tbs sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 175 C. Line a 13 X 23 cm loaf pan with greaseproof paper. Cover the bottom and the two long sides (no need to cover the short sides), leaving some paper hanging from the edges. This will make it easier to remove from the pan.
Sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, mix together the courgettes, feta, halloumi and edam cheese, raisins, walnuts and mint leaves. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Mix gently with a spoon.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the olive oil until combined. Add the yogurt and beat to mix. Add the flour and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently to combine.
Put mixture into prepared pan. Level surface with a spoon. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds if using. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool before slicing.