June 15, 2010
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.