Tuesday, July 17, 2007

almond cornmeal cake with fresh fruit compote

Here's how I used some of the peaches I talked about in my last post -- in a very easy dessert with many textures and layers of flavor. This may be my favorite cake; if I change allegiances, it will bump out a life-long favorite of German Chocolate Cake. Real German Chocolate Cake, not the dark-chocolate-cake-with-coconut-pecan-icing they try to pass of as German Chocolate in various misinformed stores, restaurants, and bakeries. But that's for another post. Today, the feature is:


Original recipe from Gourmet, August, 2000, here.

I made the cake recipe with one small change: I used almond, instead of vanilla, extract. It's also very helpful to line the bottom (only) of the loaf pan with parchment paper. The loaf will fall right out.


3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole blanched almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Accompaniment: peach and berry compote*


Preheat oven to 325°F; grease an 8 1/2- by 4 1/2- by 3-inch loaf pan. Put a piece of parchment paper to cover only the bottom of the pan.

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.

Finely grind almonds with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and stir into cornmeal mixture.

Beat butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until just blended, then beat in vanilla. (Mixture will look curdled.) Add cornmeal mixture and stir and fold until just combined.

Transfer batter to loaf pan, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife, then turn pan over carefully with hand supporting the top of the cake. Cake should fall easily into hand. Place on rack to cool.

Serve with fruit compote or mango sorbet.
Gourmet, August 2000

*Compote: There are many recipes for compote. I didn't have one in front of me and was running short on time so I just threw things in a pot; it turned out well, full of fruit flavor and not too sweet. I used a total of about 1 1/2 c. blueberries, raspberries, and peaches (other fruits can be used depending on what you have and the season); a tablespoon or two of sugar, the same of white wine, and a dash of vanilla. Bring liquid ingredients to simmer; add fruit and cook a few minutes. (The raspberries fell apart but added a nice depth to the other fruits). Remove from heat and cool. Serve over cake.

Cook, eat, dance, love!

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