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SEASONAL RECIPES

Recipe: A lemon-cornmeal cake accompanies luscious berries and soft fruits for a backyard party

Lemon-Cornmeal Cake.Sheryl Julian

Makes one 9-inch cake

Spoon berries and softly whipped cream beside slices of this simple lemon-cornmeal cake glazed with sugar syrup. The cake is baked in a plain round cake pan and assembled in bowls without a mixer, so it couldn't be easier. All-purpose flour and yellow cornmeal (preferably stoneground) are mixed with melted butter, buttermilk, an egg and extra yolk, and the rind of two lemons. While the cake bakes, make the glaze so you can brush it on the top and sides while the cake is still warm. The round has a shortcake quality. It's the kind of quick dessert you can produce on the spur of the moment to carry to a backyard party or picnic.

CAKE

Butter (for the pan)
1cup all-purpose flour
1cup yellow cornmeal
2teaspoons baking powder
½teaspoon baking soda
¼teaspoon salt
¼cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 extra yolk
6tablespoons butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1cup buttermilk (well shaken)
Grated rind of 2 lemons

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar to blend them.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg and extra yolk, butter, buttermilk, and lemon rind.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir them together to form a slightly lumpy batter with no pockets of flour. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and spread it evenly. Tap the pan once hard on the counter to settle any air pockets.

5. Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is set and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake is clean when withdrawn. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and invert again so it is sitting right side up. Place a sheet pan under the rack to catch the glaze that drips.

GLAZE

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons (1/3 cup)
¼cup sugar

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear. Bring to a boil and let the mixture bubble gently for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.

2. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the glaze in several coats, using all of the glaze. Let the cake cool completely. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices. Serve with whipped cream and berries or soft fruits.

Lisa Yockelson

Makes one 9-inch cake

Spoon berries and softly whipped cream beside slices of this simple lemon-cornmeal cake glazed with sugar syrup. The cake is baked in a plain round cake pan and assembled in bowls without a mixer, so it couldn't be easier. All-purpose flour and yellow cornmeal (preferably stoneground) are mixed with melted butter, buttermilk, an egg and extra yolk, and the rind of two lemons. While the cake bakes, make the glaze so you can brush it on the top and sides while the cake is still warm. The round has a shortcake quality. It's the kind of quick dessert you can produce on the spur of the moment to carry to a backyard party or picnic.

CAKE

Butter (for the pan)
1cup all-purpose flour
1cup yellow cornmeal
2teaspoons baking powder
½teaspoon baking soda
¼teaspoon salt
¼cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 extra yolk
6tablespoons butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1cup buttermilk (well shaken)
Grated rind of 2 lemons

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar to blend them.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg and extra yolk, butter, buttermilk, and lemon rind.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir them together to form a slightly lumpy batter with no pockets of flour. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and spread it evenly. Tap the pan once hard on the counter to settle any air pockets.

5. Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is set and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake is clean when withdrawn. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and invert again so it is sitting right side up. Place a sheet pan under the rack to catch the glaze that drips.

GLAZE

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons (1/3 cup)
¼cup sugar

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear. Bring to a boil and let the mixture bubble gently for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.

2. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the glaze in several coats, using all of the glaze. Let the cake cool completely. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices. Serve with whipped cream and berries or soft fruits.Lisa Yockelson