A Breakfast Casserole – in cake form! All the morning essentials present – bacon, eggs, milk, bread and cheese – it’s a breakfast strata that tastes like a cross between quiche, omelette and a breakfast casserole with cheesy custardy insides, and a golden crusty surface.
Make it now or leave it overnight, then just pop it in the oven the next day!
Breakfast Casserole – Strata Cake!
Being completely upfront – this is not a real dish as such, it’s just something I made up on a whim back when I first published it over 5 years ago as a way to make breakfast for a group without frying up individual bacon and eggs for everyone.
It’s essentially a breakfast casserole or a savoury bread and butter pudding, made with bread soaked in eggs and milk, scattered with cheese and bacon, then baked until golden on the surface, custardy and cheesy on the inside.
And rather than baking it the traditional way in a casserole dish, I’ve used a cake pan – so you also get golden sides and the fun factor of being able to serve slices of it like cake!
Something different – but you know it’s going to be tasty – right?! I like the way you sort of get “swirls” throughout the “cake”, which are really just the crust of the baguette I chopped up to make this breakfast “cake”!
What you need for this breakfast cake
Here’s all you need to make this breakfast strata – bread, eggs, bacon, cheese and milk. All the breakfast essentials!
Absolutely any bread is fine – I like long breadsticks because you get more “swirls” on the inside because there’s a higher crust to crumb ratio – and you can easily switch bacon for ham.
Also – bonus if it’s stale bread because it holds it’s form better once soaked in the egg mixture, but fresh works just fine too. The bread used in the recipe video and photos is fresh.
How to make this Breakfast Strata
So easy you can do it even when you’re still half asleep – though to make your mornings even more relaxing, mix it up the night before then just pop it in the oven the next morning!
- Slice / tear bread – Slice / tear bread into 2.5cm / 1″ pieces. Leave the crust on unless you’re using a really thick crusty bread – nobody wants super thick chewy crust inside when it’s supposed to be soft and custardy!
- 7 cups bread – You need 7 cups of bread in total, just lightly pushed down to fill the cup. I can’t give you a weight because different breads differ in weight for the same volume. Cup measures is the best way I can describe it!
- Whisk together the eggs and milk;
- Soak bread – Then mix the bread in until it’s totally soaked through with egg mixture, then stir through most of the cooked bacon and cheese (we hold some back for sprinkling);
- Pour into cake pan – Pour the mixture in a very well buttered non stick cake pan – springform pan is the handiest but a cake pan without a loose base is fine too because it holds together well enough to turn it out. If you know your cake pan is prone to being sticky, line it with parchment paper because eggs are the ultimate food glue and cheese makes it like super glue!
- Bake 45 minutes – Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes, then remove cover and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and crusty. Check with a skewer inserted into the centre to ensure no raw egg mixture is on it. Let it stand for a few minutes to stabilise then remove the cake pan sides (if you used a springform pan) or turn it out carefully.
The smell when this is baking is mouthwatering! It smells like a Quiche Lorraine, and though admittedly it looks a lot more rustic than a quiche, it is a whole lot less effort to put together!!
To serve, slice it up just like cake then be the civilised sort and eat it with a fork, though it holds together well enough to just eat it with your hands. Excellent food for on the go! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Cheese & Bacon Breakfast Strata Cake (Breakfast Casserole!)
- 250g / 8 oz bacon , diced (or ham)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk (full or low fat)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 7 cups (packed) any plain bread , cut into 2 cm / 1 inch cubes (preferably slightly stale, Note 1)
- 2 cups cheese , shredded (Note 2)
- Parsley , finely chopped (garnish – optional)
Heat a large non stick pan over high heat. (Use a bit of oil if not using non stick). Add all but 2 tbsp of bacon (reserve for topping) and cooked until lightly browned. Remove from the fry pan and drain on a paper towel.
Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Place the bread in a large ziplock bag. Pour in the egg mixture, 1 1/2 cups cheese and cooked bacon (reserve the uncooked bacon). Seal and massage the egg into the cubes. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (until all the egg is soaked into the bread) or overnight.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
Generously grease a 20cm/8″ springform cake tin with butter (cake pan without loose sides also ok, Note 2). Pour the bread mixture into the cake tin, pat down to compress and scatter with remaining uncooked bacon and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover loosely with foil or with a pan lid.
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes until golden on top, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (no raw egg).
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing the springform and cutting into slices to serve. Garnish with parsley if using.
Also best to avoid artisan breads like sourdough with really thick chewy crusts which are a bit too thick for the custardy inside of this dish.
Measuring – bit tricky because different bread have different weights. I used a standard baguette – about 270g / 9 oz. Best to go by volume: 7 packed cups = push the bread cubes in a 1 cup measure, press down to level the surface.
2. Cheese – You can use any melting cheese eg. tasty, gouda, Monterey Jack, pepper jack but best to avoid mozzarella because it doesn’t add as much flavour (if you do use it, add another 1/4 tsp salt).
3. Cake pan – If you don’t want to make this in a springform pan, use a cake pan without a loose base (it holds together well enough to turn out) or a 10″/25cm square baking dish . Also, you can mix the bread and egg mixture straight into the baking dish instead of in a ziplock bag. The ziplock bag is used to prevent egg mixture from leaking from the springform pan while it is set aside.
4. Nutrition assuming 8 servings, including an estimation of bacon fat discarded.
Originally published April 2015, updated October 2020 with brand new photos, video and process steps. Tidied up recipe writing but no change to recipe!
Life of Dozer
The clatter of spaghetti dropping on the floor and he was in the kitchen in a flash…..
Well, I WAS going to give them a wash and use them anyway, but he got to them first!!!
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