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.
- Serves 8-10
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
- Butter a 9” springform pan, line it with parchment and butter the parchment. (Wrap the bottom with foil if your pan tends to leak.)
- 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.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal, tapioca flour, baking powder, and the rest of the salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.