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On the first chilly day of autumn, I start craving cornbread. Buttery and tender, with a crisp crust and golden edges, cornbread tastes like fall to me. I love toasting it and slathering it with butter. We don't always have it on the table at Thanksgiving, but we make it all season, and it's wonderfully evocative of cold weather and warm blankets and cozy nights.
I love the idea of capturing seasonal flavors on the Thanksgiving table. Sure, the Thanksgiving meal is generally planned based on years of tradition. But if there's one place where you can easily get a little creative, it's dessert. Who doesn't like having more dessert options? (Spoiler alert: no one.) By adding this new cake to Thanksgiving dinner, you're expanding traditions without sacrificing any.
There's a lot to love about this cornbread-inspired cake. Using cake flour gives the batter an incredibly tender, moist-yet-light crumb. The cake is buttery and sweet with a hint of vanilla. The streusel technique is truly a stroke of brilliance: Instead of oats for crunch, you pulse freeze-dried corn with flour and butter. The streusel is salty and savory and tastes just like cornbread, but it pairs beautifully with the sweet cake.
Everyone raves about this cake. The sweet-salty combination is a complete hit, and I know I'll be making it for years to come at Thanksgiving. You can easily serve it plain, but it would be wonderful with any sort of fruit compote or a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of loosely whipped cream.
Note: I can easily find freeze-dried corn in the snack aisle of most grocery stores near me (especially Whole Foods), but you can also buy it online here.
For the cake
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche (or full-fat Greek yogurt)
For the streusel
- 3/4 cup freeze-dried corn
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon cake flour
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt