Blueberries and lemon…I love the flavor combination! This easy-to-make cake highlights this beautiful summer berry in a delicious way! The addition of cornmeal adds a little texture without making the cake heavy or gritty. I took the Blueberry-Lemon Cornmeal Cake to a recent dinner gathering along with a Raspberry-Peach Cake. I guess our friends liked the cakes because there weren’t any pieces left for me to bring home (always a good sign!). I served both cakes with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream. Delicious!
The recipe calls for finely ground yellow cornmeal, which I couldn’t find so I used Albers Yellow Corn Meal. The box of Albers doesn’t state what grind it is (fine, medium, etc.) but it seemed to be on the finer side so I went with it. The Albers cornmeal worked great.
The recipe also calls for tossing the blueberries with flour and sugar before sprinkling them over the batter. After the cake baked, however, some of the blueberries still had some flour on them. Partially white blueberries was not the look I was going for so I decided to make a quick lemon glaze to brush over the warm cake. I squeezed the juice from half a lemon into a small bowl and added enough sugar (a few tablespoons) until the lemon-sugar mixture was pleasantly sweet-tart. I then added a teaspoon or so of water and microwaved the mixture for a minute or so until the sugar dissolved. Give the syrup a stir then microwave for approximately 30 more seconds if you still see some sugar granules. Keep doing this until you have a clear syrup. Once the lemon syrup was ready, I brushed the cake and the whitish berries to “hide” any spots of flour left on them. My little trick worked like a charm! The syrup masked any leftover flour coating and added an extra hit of lemon flavor to the cake. Sweet!
Blueberry-Lemon Cornmeal Cake
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine
The combination of cornmeal and buttermilk offers both texture and tang. Serves eight to ten.
6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1/4 cup (1-1/2 ounces) finely ground yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature; more for the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
For the topping:
1 cup (about 5 oz.) fresh blueberries, rinsed and well dried
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 9×2-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round cut to fit the pan, lightly flour the sides, and tap out the excess.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium high until well blended and fluffy, about 3 min. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed until just blended and adding the lemon juice with the second egg (the batter will appear curdled; don’t worry). Using a wide rubber spatula, fold in half the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15 min.
Meanwhile, make the topping.
Combine the blueberries, sugar, and flour in a small bowl. Using a table fork, mix the ingredients, lightly crushing the blueberries and evenly coating them with the flour and sugar. After the cake has baked for 15 min., slide the oven rack out and quickly scatter the blueberries evenly over the top of the cake (discard any flour and sugar that doesn’t adhere to the berries). Continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, another 23 to 25 min.
Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 min. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan. Using a dry dishtowel to protect your hands, lay a rack on top of the cake pan and, holding onto both rack and pan, and invert the cake. Lift the pan from the cake. Peel away the parchment. Lay a flat serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake one more time so that the blueberries are on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From Fine Cooking 80, pp. 69
September 1, 2006