Sunday, May 31, 2009

lemon cornmeal cake with blueberry sauce

I can't decide if this cake is ultimately forgettable or the fulfillment of all my weeknight dessert fantasies.

It probably won't haunt your dreams or inflame your senses; it's a cake of humble ingredients and simple preparation.

But that's not to say you shouldn't make it. You should.

Because really, it's very tasty.

And unusual.

Even elegant (behind its rustic facade).

Dressed up in some whipped cream and blueberry compote, I suspect it's just the kind of cake you're looking to make on a summer Wednesday.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Blueberry Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2009

I drastically reduced the amount of confectioners sugar' in the glaze due to my ongoing vendetta against confectioners' sugar icing. (It dates back to Nigel Slater’s pistachio cake.) Mine was more like a lemon syrup, which I brushed over the cake while it was still warm.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon Juice

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line the bottom with parchment. [I used a 9-inch springform pan.]

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon peel, and vanilla in small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold liquids into flour mixture until just blended (do not stir). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes.

Immediately run knife around sides of cake. Place rack atop cake in pan. Using oven mitts, hold pan and rack firmly together and invert cake onto rack. Remove pan from cake. Place another rack on bottom of cake; invert 1 more time so that cake is top side up.

Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in small bowl. Whisk until combined; the glaze should be slightly opaque. (Add more sugar or lemon juice to taste.) Brush the glaze onto the warm cake and cool completely.

Serve with warmed blueberry sauce and whipped cream.

Blueberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed (13 to 14 ounces)
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until berries are very soft and liquid is syrupy, stirring often, about 7 minutes. [Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving, if desired.]


  1. So should I make this on Saturday, or something else? Also, I made a blueberry compote last spring (from Goin), that folded dried blueberries in with fresh. The contrasting textures, the chewniess of the dried, was really nice.

  2. Mmm. It sounds like that Goin compote would be very tasty with this. (You might even rock a dollop of her lemon curd instead of the whipped cream?? Or maybe that's a bad idea.) That said, I'd stick with the cobbler/shortcake plan. It feels like more of a crowd-pleaser.