Lemon-Blueberry Corn Cake

June 14, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

This recipe is a love letter to my daughters-in-law Paige and Julie. Both love to bake, and their other mother-in-law (Can one even imagine the challenges of dealing with TWO sets of in-laws?) cannot eat gluten. Do they complain? No, they rise to he challenge and treat all of us with generosity, graciousness and love.

I wanted to create a recipe that a baker with a well-stocked pantry could make with what is on hand, albeit gluten-free. The flavors in this cake are of the season—blueberries are plentiful now, and lemon and blueberry are a natural combination. The cake can be dressed up for dessert with a little whipped cream and more berries, but it’s perfect for breakfast, or for when some relative calls to say they’re stopping by in the afternoon to see the kids.

Peaches (with vanilla and nutmeg) would be lovely later in the summer, and it could just as easily be warmed up with some cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove, and maybe a tablespoon or so of molasses, and then you have a fall cake.

This is one of those cakes that is best just after you make it—the crust is crispy, the inside soft. The next day, the cake is soft and moist—still good, but a different experience.

So, Paige and Julie, this cake is for you—it’s easy and quick, you have everything in your pantry, and you can bake a cake that everyone in the family will be able to eat.

What You'll Need
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups fine ground cornmeal
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, plus more for buttering pan
  • 1 cup milk
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  1. Butter a 9” springform pan, line it with parchment and butter the parchment. (Wrap the bottom with foil if your pan tends to leak.)
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites with ¼ teaspoon of salt till they form soft peaks. Beat in ½ cup of sugar till stiff peaks form and a shiny meringue forms. Set it aside. Heat oven to 350.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal, tapioca flour, baking powder, and the rest of the salt.
  4. In a mixer cream butter and the rest of the sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, and continue to beat for about 2 minutes till light and lemon colored. Stir in lemon juice and zest and blend together. Alternate adding cornmeal mixture and milk, blending till thoroughly combined. Gently stir in meringue, folding and stirring until meringue is completely incorporated into batter with as few white blobs as possible.
  5. Pour 1/2 batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle 1/2 of the blueberries over the top. Layer the other half of the batter, and sprinkle over the rest of the blueberries—they will sink into the cake. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar and bake approximately 60 minutes, until a tester placed in the center comes out clean.
  6. Transfer to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it completely from the sides of the pan. Open the ring and remove it. If you want to remove the cake from the base of the springform pan, wait until it has cooled completely, then slide a long thin spatula between the cake and the base. Use a large spatula to then move it to a serving plate.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shelli
  • BlueKaleRoad
  • Lizthechef
  • susan g
    susan g
  • hardlikearmour

28 Reviews

Shelli June 17, 2015
Can I substitute coconut flour for tapioca flour?
drbabs June 17, 2015
I'm sorry, but I don't know. I've never used it.
turtlepup November 1, 2012
Just bought some fine cornmeal to make experimental corn tortillas (experimental only b/c I've never made them, not trying anything fancy). Perfect timing to find this recipe. If nothing else, will comfort me if the tortillas are a bust. :)
BlueKaleRoad July 11, 2011
This looks like a beautiful cake! I love lemon and blueberry together and just discovered tapioca flour. Will definitely be baking this soon. Thank you for sharing!
tbschwarz June 20, 2011
I tried out this recipe tonight. It looked and tasted good, but I was somewhat puzzled that it turned out very dense. With the three beaten egg whites, I wasn't expecting it to be dense. Has anyone else tried the recipe yet?
drbabs June 20, 2011
First, thank you for trying my recipe. It's definitely denser than a cake with gluten would be (because cornmeal is pretty dense) , but it's fairly light in my experience. It does get dense and soft the next day after being covered. I'm not really sure why you had that experience.
Maybe you over-folded the egg whites? Or didn't beat the yolk mixture long enough? Or your oven temperature was low? I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.
drbabs June 20, 2011
Oh, I just thought of something else. I used really fine ground cornmeal. If yours is coarse, that could account for the density, too.
tbschwarz June 21, 2011
Thanks, drbabs. I used half cornmeal and half corn flour -- wasn't sure how finely ground my cornmeal is compared to other cornmeal. Maybe the ratio of dry to wet ingredients was a little off because of that change. I'll have to give it another try. It was tasty...
Lizthechef June 15, 2011
Thumbs up - this is my new summer cake recipe. Will have fun playing with variations as you suggest!
drbabs June 15, 2011
Oh--I hope you like it! (Although i guess you've noticed that it's NOT low-fat!)
susan G. June 15, 2011
This is inspired -- looks good, must taste good, and promises to be an unfolding adventure.
drbabs June 15, 2011
Please let me know if you try it.
Julie43 June 14, 2011
as one of your daughter-in-laws, i can say, i really do have everything needed in the pantry for this. :)
drbabs June 14, 2011
Kitchen B. June 14, 2011
:-), way to go drbabs - praying that when the in-laws come in a couple of decades, I'll be blessed with such wonderful comments. Stocked pantries are the best.
hardlikearmour June 14, 2011
This sounds delicious. I love that you separated your eggs, and used the whipped whites to lighten it up!
drbabs June 14, 2011
aargersi June 14, 2011
DrBabs I LOVE LOVE this recipe - I wanted a corn flour cake but wasn't able to come up with one on my own so THANK YOU! Also love the headnote - your daughters in law are very lucky.
drbabs June 14, 2011
Thanks, aargersi--I hope you enjoy it!
boulangere June 14, 2011
drbabs June 14, 2011
Thank you!
drbabs June 15, 2011
Btw--I started out think of using almond meal in this cake, but after reading your lament about nut allergies on Foodpickle, I decided to try it without nuts of any sort.
Sagegreen June 14, 2011
I think I want this with proseco for breakfast, well a mimosa, for brunch!
drbabs June 14, 2011
Come on over!
wssmom June 14, 2011
This is what's for breakfast this weekend!
drbabs June 14, 2011
I hope you enjoy it!
testkitchenette June 14, 2011
This is a keeper, I am making this soon!
drbabs June 14, 2011
Thanks--I hope you like it!