Friday, July 23, 2010

Broiled Blackberry Corn Cake

This is one of those situations where you get lemons so you make lemonade.  I was intrigued by a recipe from Jeremy Jackson’s The Cornbread Cookbook for caramel corncake.  It sounded very tasty so I thought I would give it a try with the addition of blackberries.  
We have a hugh crop of blackberries this year.  The blackberry crop seems to cycle good years and poor years and we were due for a good year.  The hot weather we’ve had lately is ripening them quickly.
I really like this picture because you can see the berries at all of the different stages of ripening.

I picked several baskets of blackberries this morning in anticipation of baking this cake.

The cake didn’t come out quite like I expected. You start by making a batter of corn flour, wheat flour, brown sugar, milk, butter, baking powder and salt.  It didn’t call for any eggs and it only uses 2 tablespoons of butter, which is what attracted me to the recipe in the first place.  (You could easily substitute the wheat flour for a gluten free alternative)  You spread the batter in your pan and then top it with more brown sugar.  I added a cup and a half of blackberries.   Then you pour a cup and a half of hot water over the top and bake it for about an hour at 325°.

It came out soft and spongy, rather than all gooey or crispy caramel as I had anticipated.  I was disappointed but rather than just eat it as is, I decided to take it a step further and experiment a little.  I turned my broiler on high and cut a piece of the cake.

I broiled the cake for 8 minutes which turned the soft spongy topping crisp and chewy.  A much more satisfying texture.  So, if you’re going to make this cake, cook it and then right before serving, broil it.

Broiled Blackberry Corncake
Adapted from a recipe in The Cornbread Cookbook by Jeremy Jackson
Makes 6 servings - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour 
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn flour
I cup brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rice milk (or other non dairy milk)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter substitute, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very hot water
1 1/2 cups blackberries
Preheat your oven to 325°.
Grease a spring form pan with Earth Balance.
Sift together the flours, cornmeal, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
In another bowl, melt the Earth Balance, and stir in the rice milk and vanilla.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and stir until blended.  
Spread batter into the spring form pan and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top of the batter.
Sprinkle the blackberries over the brown sugar.
Pour the hot water over everything.
Bake for 50 - 55 minutes.
Right before serving, broil on high for 8 minutes. 

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