Cornmeal Cake with Blackberry Glaze


I saw Nigella, kitchen goddess, make this elegant and unfussy polenta cake on her show. The blackberry glaze idea came from the photo of these donuts – gorgeous!

Note: although purple and lovely, my cake was a little dry since my blackberry glaze just sits on top, so next time I will try half her lemon glaze and let that seep into the cake, then top with the blackberry glaze.

Cornmeal Cake with Blackberry Glaze

Variation on Nigella’s Lemon Polenta Cake

  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 100 grams cornmeal
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • blackberries and powdered sugar for glazing

Heat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

Whisk together almonds, cornmeal and baking powder. Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs one by one and combine. Stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined, then spread into springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Glaze with a mixture of mashed and strained blackberries and powdered sugar (start with just a few tbsps of juice, add more if needed). Garnish with blackberries.

Beet Cake

A few days ago a friend of mine posted this gorgeous video on Facebook…

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

…so of course I had to make it. The video is beautiful and haunting, almost ghostly. I started feeling nostalgic watching it, and I’m not sure if it was for the chocolate cake or for the card catalog. The recipe feels quaint, like a recipe that could have been passed down by Ukranian grandmothers. Lovely and simple, an extremely moist chocolate cake with a little something you can’t put your finger on…(beets!). I love recipes like these, familiar and yet unexpected.

It was so comforting to tie on my apron, bake and eat a cake on a day with a terrible thunderstorm and hail; gloomy outside, cozy inside. Zoeya is a chocolate fiend like her mommy and very much enjoyed her Friday treat.

She saw this picture just now as I was writing about it and told me “That’s for AFTER dinner.” That’s true for her maybe, but I informed her I am a grown-up and can eat my cake whenever I want.

Beet Cake

1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 c butter
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, melted
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c beets, pureed
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cream together brown sugar and butter with a hand or stand mixer. Add melted chocolate and blend together, then beat in eggs one by one. Add vanilla and beets and combine well. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together, then stir into beet mixture. Pour into a greased 10″ spring form pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool, then transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and decorate with a sliced beet.

Quick baker’s note: as much as I love brown sugar, I usually only buy it when I’m baking something specific, which discourages impromptu baking. However, I’ve found you can quite easily substitute the same amount of granulated sugar plus 1-2 tbsp molasses per cup of sugar.