Citrus Cornmeal Cake

June 15, 2010

Citrus Cornmeal Cake with Blueberry Sauce

I waivered on this recipe. A cornmeal cake? That’s not really my thing. The desserts that emerge from my kitchen are typically of the chocolate variety or involve frosting, or at the least call for butter. (I maintain a mostly healthy kitchen, after all, and wouldn’t have it any other way.) This cake is unconventional by those sweets standards. No chocolate, no frosting, no lick of butter in sight. And I’m happy to report it wasn’t missed. At all, really. 

It all started with the bag of cornmeal I purchased in preparation for a healthier onion ring (oh yes) recipe that remains to be tested. (I have high hopes, friends.) That bag of cornmeal got me thinking about cornbread. And cornbread got me thinking about a big steaming pot of chili. And visions of chili conjured up thoughts of autumn and then whack, back up the train, Carolyn. It’s June. I’ve resolved to save cornbread and chili for fall, but this cake satisfied those cravings. It’s sweet enough for a light summer dessert but works just as well for breakfast or as an afternoon pick me up. At least that’s what a little bird told me.

Play with the citrus as you please. Go with all orange or all lemon, or all lime even (which I think would be terrific with blackberry sauce!). The original recipe suggests wine in place of the juice as an alternative. I think sherry would be delicious, but I might stir poppyseeds into the batter and hold the fruit compote.

As with many cakes, this is even better the next day after the flavors have married and settled. The crumb is more tender and the flavors more pronounced. The berry sauce keeps for a few days in the fridge.

Citrus Cornmeal Cake

(Adapted from Everyday Food)
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup citrus juice (I used the juice from 2 oranges, 1 lemon and half a lime)
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper or foil, and spray paper with oil.

In a large bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, white and brown sugars, vanilla, juice and zest. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, and whisk gently to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, invert cake gently onto a plate, and remove parchment paper. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. Serve with blueberry compote or fresh fruit, if desired.

Easy Blueberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2-3 T water
  • 2 T powdered sugar, or to taste

Combine blueberries and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until blueberries soften and juices thicken (10-15 minutes). Stir in powdered sugar and continue to cook for 5 minutes more, or until sauce reaches desired thickness.

12 Comments
  1. Allison [a for aubergine]

    June 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm


    This looks great. I just finished lunch and now I want this for dessert. I like Everyday Food too!

  2. Abby (Nibble, Nourish, Run)

    June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm


    Even without the beloved butter, this cake looks completely delicious. I bet the blueberry sauce is fabulous with the lemony, limey, orangey tastes of the cake. Perfect for the summer…

  3. Tracy

    June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm


    Carolyn, this sounds like a perfect breakfast cake to me. I just bought a bunch of lemons…

  4. Ken

    June 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm


    As soon as I saw the picture with the blueberries on top… my mouth got excited!

  5. Kaitlin

    June 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm


    Mmmmm…. Lovely photos! I have never made a cornmeal cake, but I know that I would love the texture.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Cherine

    June 16, 2010 at 2:02 am


    This cake looks wonderful, so moist !!

  7. M

    June 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm


    I’m very new to using cornmeal….just made some biscotti with it few weeks ago and I loved the extra crunchiness, very interesting texture, and flavor, too. I was thinking about making something else with it, so I might be trying this recipe….looks so delicious, light and summery…. :)

  8. Stephanie

    June 17, 2010 at 9:13 am


    Mmm.

    So, can you make me a lemon and blackberry cornmeal cake? You don’t mind shipping it to Missour-ah do ya? I suppose I could make it myself, but desserts always taste better when someone else makes them for you…kind of like sandwiches!

  9. Katie @ Cozydelicious

    June 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm


    This looks amazing. My step-dad loves anything citrus, and he is a huge fan of all things involving corn meal (corn muffins, polenta, corn waffles… you name it). He would love this! Maybe I’ll mak eit for him for father’s day this weekend!

  10. Cathy

    June 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm


    I love blueberries and corn meal stuff–this is for me—thank you!!!!And the photos are great……make me very hungry!!!!!!!!!!1

  11. molly

    June 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm


    Yum!!

  12. I am a big fan of corn meal and my children love it in Polenta Croutons….but I never thought of cooking it sweet! Will try it soon!

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