Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Italian Cornmeal Cake with Strawberries

Northern California's strawberry season truly exploded this week. The farmers' markets and stores are overflowing with sweet, ripe fruit, ready to be eaten. But what to do with all of those strawberries? Well, this recipe combines cornmeal cake (one of my favorites), with fresh fruit. Adapt it according to the season and use whatever fruit you have available. As a light, refreshing dessert, it's a great staple to get you through summer. Use it to impress your guests at summer BBQs and garden parties.

1 1/4 cups soy milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you like)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal 
(if you only have coarse cornmeal, try grinding it in a coffee grinder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

16 oz strawberries
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar, optional

Fist, hull and chop the strawberries, sprinkle a tablespoon of granulated sugar on them, and set them aside. Next, grease your pan (either a 9 inch round cake pan or a traditional loaf pan). In a bowl, mix together all of your other ingredients. The order doesn't matter. The resulting batter will have a fairly runny consistency – that's OK. Then, pour your batter into a pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

After removing from the oven, pour your strawberry mixture on top. Some juice will have begun to seep out of the berries, that's good, you want to pour that on top of the cake too. When cool, remove from pan. You can dust the whole thing with confectioners' sugar before serving, if you want to.

Update, May 26th 2013: I just made this recipe in a loaf pan and drizzled three tablespoons of orange syrup over it. It was really moist and made a great dessert, although it could also stand alone as a cake to serve with coffee. If you don't have orange syrup, you can just dissolve some marmalade in hot water.


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