From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While everyone is familiar with the ingredients used in tonight's feature, the use of cranberries and orange in conjunction with cornmeal is not something we see every day. I honed in on this recipe, which comes from the LA Times, because I was looking for something unusual for a holiday brunch and I thought the combination of the three ingredients was different enough to be interesting. As I suspected, the cornmeal added great texture to the cake, while the mingling of vanilla and maple syrup wonderfully highlighted the flavors of the tart cranberries and orange zest. This cake is quite moist for one that is made with cornmeal. The moisture comes from the use of ricotta cheese which in this recipe serves as a liquid ingredient. The cake has a rustic appearance and the cranberries add a pop of color that make it perfect for a holiday table. The cake is not hard to make, but I do have one caution to share with you. Make sure the center of the cake is done before you remove it from the oven. The very center of mine fell, ever so slightly, as the cake cooled. The next time I make this, I plan to use a tube pan to assure that this doesn't happen again. I really liked the richness and texture of this cake. I do hope you'll give the recipe a try. Here is how the cake is made.
Cranberry Orange and Cornmeal Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Zoe Nathan via the LA Times
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) butter, divided use
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups ricotta cheese
2-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, divided use
1) Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x by 3-inch tall cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Grease paper and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Set aside.
3) In bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, 1-1/2 cups sugar, salt and zest. Mix just until thoroughly combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
4) With mixer running, slowly incorporate egg mixture into butter just until combined.
5) With mixer on low speed, add one-half of flour mixture to batter and quickly mix for 5 seconds. Turn off mixer and add remainder of flour, ricotta and 3/4 cup cranberries. Mix remaining ingredients into batter over low speed just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
6) Gently scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth top and scatter with remaining cranberries. Sprinkle reserved 2 tablespoons of sugar over top of cake.
7) Bake cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Place a loose piece of foil over top of the cake if it starts to darken. Cool cake on a wire rack before removing it from pan. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.
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