Monday, February 8, 2010


I often find myself craving time in the kitchen over the weekends. I cook dinner at home almost every night during the week, but it's usually something quick that I can make without a recipe. It's pretty much the same 10-15 meals in regular rotation.

So by Saturday I need something new, some flavor to interest me. This weekend it was a Roasted Tomato Soup (so very easy and I should confess I have made it before) and a French pastry called Gougere. They are light as feather puffs with gruyere cheese. The dough, a rather gloppy and seemingly odd technique is the same used for profiteroles and eclairs. I've made it a few times and if I weren't using recipes that I whole-heartedly trusted I'm sure I'd be thinking, "this can't be right."

But this simple supper wasn't going to satisfy my baking desire, so I baked a very approachable and rather tasty lemon cake. The recipe came from Bon Appetit and I absolutely love the texture it gets from a small amount of cornmeal. Any cake that doesn't involve the mixer is one I'll make again. You simply put all dry ingredients into one bowl and the wet into another. Fold them together and pour into a cake pan lined with parchment paper. I loved it with just the glaze, but went ahead and made the sauce (I used cherries instead of blueberries because that's what they had at the store) and served it with tea on Sunday afternoon. Totally fantastic, and one I'm trying to find an excuse to make again.




Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed-Blueberry Sauce

1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 T lemon juice, more if needed
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl, stir with a spoon until smooth and paste-like. Add juice as needed.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c cornmeal
3/4 c sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T lemon zest
3/4 t vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the center. Butter a 9" cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold liquids into flour until just blended. Scrape batter into cake pan and spread evenly.
Bake cake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes (I cooked mine 33 min.)
Immediately run a knife around sides of cake. Invert cake onto a plate, pull off pan, peel off parchment, place a rack onto the cake and invert again so the cake is right side up. While the cake is still hot, spread the glaze. Cool completely. Serve with sauce, recipe follows.

Crushed-Blueberry Sauce
3 c fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed, divided
2/3 c brown sugar
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t lemon zest
pinch of salt

Combine 1 1/2 c berries and all the remaining ingredients into a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add remaining berries, crushing slightly with a spoon.

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