Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

cranberry-cornmeal-cake1Dessert 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.

cranberry-cornmeal-cake2No 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.

cranberry-cornmeal-cake3I 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.

2 Replies to “Cranberry Cornmeal Cake”

  1. I’m eager to try this, as I love cornmeal in desserts. (I make a Venetian cornmeal cookie, *zaleti*, that people really like for that great crunch cornmeal gives.) If I were to fiddle with it, I might be tempted to replace the cranberries with dried cherries plumped in some orange juice. Ah, the possibilities…

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