Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Italian Cornmeal Cake

From Cook, Eat, Thrive: Italian Cornmeal Cake with Coriander Creme Anglaise and Roasted Apricots

I've posted about Italian Cornmeal Cake before, but I think it deserves a place of it's own.

A few weeks ago, I'd just returned from Los Angeles. Our flight arrived around 10:00 p.m., and by the time we were home, had fed the cats, showered, and taken a breath, it was much later. The next morning, our social worker was scheduled to arrive for an adoption homestudy visit, and I wanted to bake something for breakfast. Muffins? Coffeecake? Cinnamon rolls?

Italian Cornmeal Cake, of course. I've used it for the past two years' Dia de los Muertos cakes, where it stood up to the rigors of carving and being draped in heavy fondant. I've make it for dinner parties, where it can be baked weeks in advance and frozen with no ill effects. It's been birthday cake, morning muffins, and chocolate-studded loaf cake with tea. It's so incredibly versatile, I've used it over and over. And over.

Loaded with strawberries and White Chocolate Buttercream for a birthday celebration

As the base of a tiramisu, continuing the Italian theme

On this early morning, I folded raspberries into the batter, which yielded a moist, tender breakfast loaf. Bake it a few minutes longer if you tuck in additions like berries, chocolate, or nuts, until the top springs back instead of leaving an impression when you touch it. I love mine with a generous dose of citrus zest and liqueur, or dusted with powdered sugar and topped with pine nuts and lavender flowers.

Any way you make Italian Cornmeal Cake, its mild sweetness and subtle cornmeal texture will charm you.

Italian Cornmeal Cake
8 thick slices
Multiply the recipe as needed to suit larger celebrations.

1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oven to 350 F. Oil and line a 9" x 4" loaf pan with parchment, or a 9" round pan, and set aside.

In a medium bowl or 2-cup measure, combine non-dairy milk, evaporated cane juice or sugar, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Pour in the liquid mixture, and gently whisk until combined and nearly free of lumps. Transfer to oven and bake 50-55 minutes. When the cake is done, the top will spring back when lightly pressed, and the edges will begin to shrink from the sides of the pan.

Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out to cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Slice into pieces, or frost and decorate as you like.

Italian Cornmeal Cake, as the centerpiece for my daughter's first birthday

This morning? Our social worker loved it. I'm convinced it made things simpler when we discussed our family being vegan, and our plans to nourish any future children the same way.

And besides, it's always lovely to feel cake-proud on a moment's notice!


Mihl said...

Your cakes always look so beutiful! I love that cornmeal cake but I just can't believe how versatile it is. I think I'm going to attempt my first vegan tiramisu with this.

dreaminitvegan said...

All of those cakes are beautiful! What a 1st birthday cake!

I've been wanting to make an Italian cornmeal cake. Hmmmm.

Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) said...

i just visited your site for the first time and i already want to eat everything i see. :)
love your blog!

KD said...

Oh my goodness.. I love your blog.. it's my favorite. I haven't dropped by in a while... but I am so glad I just did. These cakes are gorgeous! I also see congratulations is in order - for a few reasons it seems!
When will your book be released? Very exciting... Keep up the great work :)

fiftytwonamesblog said...

I finally made this tonight and loved it! Can I find the tiramisu recipe anywhere? Thanks Joy!

Vegease said...

Have made this twice in the last week. First time didn't have cornmeal so I used masa harina, second time had course cornmeal, so I used that. I see how this can be very adaptable.

An it mixes ups so quickly!

Thanks for a great recipe.

Vegease said...
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