Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cornmeal Cake with Fresh Corn and Berries

Fresh sweet corn on the cob is one of the most perfect foods on earth. Sweet corn season is in full-swing right now and I've been eating corn-on-the-cob once a week, plus stripping ears of fresh corn for other recipes (and plan to do so more this week). When I saw this recipe in my new cookbook, Farmers' Market Desserts by Jennie Schacht, I knew I had to try it. Although Jennie Schacht recommends blackberries or raspberries (although she does say to substitute other berries as the season allows), I immediately thought of blueberries and used those instead. This cake is wonderfully moist, not overly sweet, and embodies the taste of summer. This cake has a wonderful crunchy crust, with a tender and light cake inside. The taste of both the fresh corn and blueberries comes through and is a great dessert for warm summer days.

Cornmeal Cake with Fresh Corn and Blueberries
from Farmers' Market Desserts by Jennie Schacht

1 pint (about 2 cups) blackberries or raspberries
3/4 c. corn kernels (from about 1 ear of corn)
1 c. plus 2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. fine or medium stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
Lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack near the center. Oil a 8-by-2-inch round cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. Set aside 1 cup of the berries for garnish. Put the remaining 1 c. berries into a small bowl with the corn kernels. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir gently to coat and set aside.

3. Stir together the remaining 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and olive oil in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until they are well combined. Gently fold the floured-and-sugared berries and corn into the batter.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted near the center tests clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack until almost completely cool. Run a thin knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake sides. Invert a flat plate or baking sheet over the pan and invert the pan and plate together to release the cake. Life off the pan, then invert the cake again onto a serving plate.

5. A few minutes before serving, toss the reserved berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature. Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired, and a scattering of sugared berries.

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