Monday, October 5, 2009

Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Blueberry Sauce

I saw a picture of this cake, in Bon appetit's April 2009 issue. I fell in love and knew I had to try it! Alas, we were in the middle of a thousand stressful things, including getting prepared to move. So this lovely recipe had to wait. I did end up making it last weekend.
As per usual, the cast of characters:
1 1/2 cups packed powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons, or more, fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tbsp finely grated lemon peel
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
Crushed blueberry sauce (I have a recipe for this if anyone wants me to post it. Luckily my mom is skilled in all things canning so I had a delicious jar of her blueberry sauce willing to sacrifice itself to this recipe. Blueberry sauce not pictured below. Well, part of the jar is...)
First task was grating the lemon peel, and squeezing the lemons. Grate just the very outer yellow part of the peel. The white part just doesn't taste good, trust me. I always put citrus peels down the disposal because it makes the kitchen smell delicious and fresh.
I used the grated peel of two lemons.
And, of course, the juice from those lemons as well.
Now to sift the powdered sugar. I always check the thrift stores for one of those old fashioned sifters. You know, with the pump handle? For now I just use this. It works fine. Just isn't nearly as cool as an old school sifter would be.
Plus, I always make a mess with this, like so...
Now add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar. I had to add 3 tbsp just to get it to a glue consistency. Which is not what you want...
You want a thin glaze, like this. Now set that aside. I think I ended up using something like 5 tbsp of lemon juice.
At this point, I was melting the butter in the microwave. Not the best idea, as I soon found out. I heard a loud POP come from the microwave, and this is what I discovered.
Awesome, just what I want to do in the middle of baking a cake, clean the microwave.
But it had to be done. I am far too anal to let something like that sit.
So I got another stick of butter, but this time put it in a pan over low heat to melt. I pre heat my oven to 350 degrees, then butter the cake pan.
I draw a rough sized circle out of some wax paper, and press it to the botom of the pan.
Then I bust out this beauty. I have often heard these mythical stories about the great Kitchenaid mixer, and how every good cook should have one. I couldn't afford one and tried to convince myself that I didn't need one, hell didn't even WANT one. That is, until I was completely surprised with one from my boyfriend (now fiance which he can thank the kitchenaid for as well), on Christmas! I literally wept with joy. Literally, I cried. Then spent half an hour caressing the box as if it were my own newborn child. Behold, the beauty...
Now I also have heard that every good cook should have a food processor, which I do NOT have. ::hint hint, nudge nudge:: Brad, if you are reading this...
I digress, on with the recipe.
Now I combined the flour and cornmeal.
Yellow cornmeal is beautiful, on top of being damn tasty.
Add the sugar,
baking powder, and salt, in a large bowl.
Whisk the ingredients to blend.
Now in the mixer, I poured the buttermilk, and turned the mixer on to med-high speed.
Added the eggs,
lemon peel,
and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients, into the dry ingredients.
Then add the melted butter. Which, if all turns out right, wouldn't have previously exploded in your microwave.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture together until just blended. DO NOT STIR.
It will look like this:
Then pour the mixture into the buttered, and papered, pan.
Now, the recipe calls for a 9 inch diameter pan, with 2 inch sides. Well my pan wasn't 2 inched high, but I decided to pour it all into one pan anyhow. It was less than half an inch off from being 2 inches, but that didn't stop me from being nervous about it. Especially when only nine minutes into the 30 minute baking time it looked like this:
As you see here, it turned out okay after all. Aside from that dip in the middle which proves to be problematic in a minute. This is after 30 minutes of baking.
Run a knife around the sides of the cake, which should be seperating from the pan a bit. Flip the cake out onto a rack, and behold it's beauty.
Then flip it back over onto another rack, so that the top is facing up again. Stir the glaze up until it is blended. While the cake is still hot, drop the glaze onto the cake by the spoonful. Spread it to within 1/2 inch of the edge.
Some glaze may drip down the sides of the cake, but I think this makes it look even better.
Don't you agree?
Now look at that blasted dip in the center. My concern was that the glaze would run into it, and make the middle of the cake too rich, and basically soaked in lemon glaze. I just continued to use the back of a large spoon to push the glaze towards the edges of the cake. I did this for just a few minutes until the glaze started to harden in the places I wanted it to go.
Then I sprinkled the left over lemon peel over it. Because what the heck, it makes it look fancy. One of my favorite Food Network shows is the Barefoot Contessa. Ina always says to put something on the outside of the dish, to let people know what is on the inside. In this case, that was lemon peel.
When it is cooled slightly, slice this bad boy up!
Then pour on a generous spoonful, or three, of blueberry sauce.
Tada! Enjoy! I know I did. This is also delicious with a nice cup of coffee in the morning, says Brad.


Amanda said...

Oh YUM! This looks great. You know, I have some blue cornmeal I've been meaning to use... I think that would be interesting to use with the blueberry sauce drizzled over top.

Keep cooking & sharing. I love my Kitchenaid mixer, too, and I don't have a food processor, either. I have an older blender and I found that I can use the blender base on a Mason jar. I use it to make bread crumbs & chop small quantities of nuts.

I'll keep an eye out for that sifter for you - I have one myself and I see them once in a while around here.

Laura said...

hehehe, i've exploded butter in the microwave too. god thats an awful mess.

i would have been caressing the kitchenaid mixer box too. i got a Cuisinart food processor and i was pretty excited about that.