If you’ve spent any time around these pages, you know that I have a serious “thing” for everyday cakes—but maybe that’s just because I like to eat cake every day. LOL! No, but seriously, though I’d never turn up my nose at a slice of something fancy with lots of bells and whistles, it’s the homey, comforting and simple cakes that I dream about. Cakes like this rustic, bake-for-no-particular-reason Cornmeal Buttermilk Loaf Cake. It’s simply (with the emphasis on the simple) magic!
As with all non-fussy foods, it comes together quickly and easily—you don’t even need a mixer. And other than the buttermilk, which you can make yourself or pick up at the store (yeah, I know it’s annoying to have to buy a whole container of it, but once you do you have the incentive to make things like this Buttermilk Baked Chicken, Lemon-Currant Buttermilk Scones, One-Pan Buttermilk Dinner Rolls, Easy Buttermilk Ranch Dip, Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings, or so many others on the site—-just type in buttermilk to the search engine and you’ll see a slew of ‘em) or this cake again, of course—whew, sorry for that long rambly aside, where was I? Oh yes, the great thing about this cake is that aside from the buttermilk, you’re very likely to have all of the other ingredients on hand, which means you can whip up this little beauty pretty much whenever your fancy strikes.
Mine has struck about 4 times in the last 3 weeks. Yes, it’s that good!
I wish, wish, wish I had come up with it myself but nope,it’s the genius of baking guru Dorie Greenspan, who says that despite the fact that she bakes something nearly every day, she still manages to make this loaf once a week because it’s such a family favorite.
As you can see from the photos, it’s got a golden brown crust that’s a little bit crunchy. The interior is a tender, cheery yellow with a little bit of texture from the cornmeal. And it’s sweet —this is definitely a cake, not a bread, but it’s not so sweet that you couldn’t justify eating a slice of this (or two) for breakfast. Every bite is full of buttery, lemon-vanilla goodness.
If you’re looking for a little way to make the weekend special, I think you should add this cake to the equation! Then put on a pot of tea and invite me over!!
All right, time to wrap things up here—both the post and the month. Can you believe this is the last Friday in March?!! Have a great weekend and I’ll be back with a whole bunch of new, warmer weather recipes as we head into April together. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a lovely Spring! xoxo
Cornmeal Buttermilk Loaf Cake
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: About 1 hour
1 1/4 cups (170 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for the pan
1/2 cup (76 grams) fine yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
Finely grated zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus a bit extra for the pan
1. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Place the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and use your fingers to work the zest into the sugar to release the oils. Add the eggs and use a whisk to blend the mixture together for a couple of minutes until the mixture looks light and thick. Now, use a flexible rubber spatula and gently stir in half the dry ingredients. Blend in the buttermilk and then add the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing gently until no traces of flour can be seen. In three additions, add the butter, stirring well between each addition. Be patient because it may seem that there’s too much butter for the batter, but if you keep at it, it will all come together. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
4. Bake for about 1 hour—start checking at 50 minutes because all ovens are different. The top will be golden brown and crack and a cake tester that you insert into the middle should come out entirely clean. If it’s not, bake if for longer and test again.
5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then run a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it from the sides and invert onto the rack. Turn the cake again so that it cools right side up. Let cool to room temperature and cut into slices to serve.
6. You can wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for about 3 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan. I always need to cook this about 10 minutes longer than the original recipe says. I love this cake just as it is, but you could also fold in a cup of blueberries or raspberries at the end. Also, you could leave out the lemon zest for a more vanilla experience.