Honey and Cornmeal Cake with Lemon and Herb Custard

By Mary Catherine Tee
May 15, 2014
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Author Notes: This cake is a cross between cornbread and pound cake and is perfect for dessert. Lemon thyme or lavender would work beautifully in place of sage. Mary Catherine Tee

Food52 Review: This cake had me at Cornmeal! I love the addition of cornmeal in cakes and in pizza dough. It adds lovely depth to the flavor and gives this cake a nice crumb. Mary Tee Malmberg has created a beautifully moist cake with the addition of olive oil and the “custard” topping. While the heavy cream and honey simmers, the combination creates a beautiful chestnut color and flavor which adds another level of flavor to the cake. An added bonus to this cake is it’s simplicity.

[Editors' note: We'd recommend upping the amount of fresh herb used to make the cream topping, and we think this cake would also be great using lavender as the primary herb.]
at yvonne's table

Serves: 10

For the custard:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Zest from 1 lemon

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used sage)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and allowed to sit for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Honey and butter, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the custard ingredients. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the cream does not burn. Cover, turn off heat, and let cool until you're ready to use it.
  3. In a bowl, combine flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and fresh herbs. Whisk together until well-combined.
  4. In a stand mixer or by hand, beat eggs and honey together until a bit of foam forms on top. I did this with my stand mixer on level 6 for about 4 minutes.
  5. Once mixed, add buttermilk and olive oil.
  6. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
  7. Pour the batter into a springform pan lined with parchment paper.
  8. Now, discard the herb sprig from the cream mixture. Pour the cream mixture in the middle of the batter. Don't worry if it just sits at the top -- it will sink as it's cooking.
  9. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool the cake cool completely before serving with honey and butter.

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