Blueberries are an indelible part of summer. I’ve come to realize that they have a very high nostalgia quotient, bringing me back to the kitchens and woods of my youth. And in all the muffins, pancakes, scones, cobblers, crumbles, bars, and tarts I’ve made through the years, blueberries have been ever-present. That’s why it’s still exciting to find a great blueberry recipe.
This cake is from the excellent Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica, and it will certainly be added to my repertoire. It incorporates many of the elements in my favorite cakes; cornmeal, ricotta and citrus zest. It is moist and springy inside, yet has an amazing golden crust from the cornmeal and sprinkled sugar. As you would imagine, this cake is great for breakfast or dessert.
Blueberry Cornmeal Cake
from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen
makes a 10-inch cake (could also be made as muffins)
* This cake is best served the day it’s made, but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tblsp unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 3 tblsp sugar, plus 2 tblsp more
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 tblsp canola oil
3 tblsp maple syrup
1 tblsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup + 2 tblsp whole plain yogurt
1/2 cup + 1 tblsp ricotta
1 cup fresh blueberries
1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350º. Line and grease a 10-inch round cake pan.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, 3/4 cup + 3 tblsp sugar, and salt on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
3. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla and orange zest. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not overmix!
4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, top with the blueberries, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan.
5. Run a butter knife around the perimeter of the cake. Place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right side up onto the plate.