Dessert recipes usually aren’t as forgiving as savory dishes, but I still can’t ever seem to follow the rules. I had a big bag of cornmeal and frozen cranberries — the main ingredients — but didn’t want to go to the store for anything else. I swapped plain yogurt for ricotta, honey for maple syrup, dried orange rind for fresh zest and some margarine since we only had one stick of butter.
No one had any complaints about the result. The cake is a nice, not-too-sweet dessert. And on Day 2, it’s more moist, and the cranberries are a little less tart. I have a lot of hungry friends, though, so it didn’t make it to Day 3.
I can only imagine how great it would be with ricotta and maple syrup. Yogurt was a good substitute though, and I would always choose pure honey if your only other option is fake maple-and-butter-flavored corn syrup.
This would also be great with an orange glaze, as Kat suggested.
Cranberry Cornmeal Cake
Modified version of LA Times adaptation of Rustic Canyon recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey (or good maple syrup)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) butter
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 cups plain yogurt (or ricotta)
- 2 cups cranberries
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round by 3-inch tall cake pan or large bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, oil and vanilla. Set aside. (A lot of bowls, I know.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, salt and zest. (I did it by hand with a fork. Life’s hard.) Slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the butter just until combined.
Add one-half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix. Add the rest of the flour, the yogurt and one-half of the cranberries.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter the remaining cranberries over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. (If doing this in a bundt pan, it would be prettier to put the cranberries and sugar on the bottom so when you take the cake out, the fruit is on top. I did not have this foresight.)
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. In a bundt pan in Kat’s quick oven, this was 45
minutes. Place a loose piece of foil over the top of the cake if it starts to darken. Cool the cake on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.
As mentioned, it is somehow better and moister the next day.