I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit's Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed Blueberry Sauce. In my version, buttermilk is replaced with thick, farm fresh yogurt and lemon glaze is switched to strawberry-lemon. The cake soaks up strawberry juice and glaze incredibly well; I recommend using the best quality strawberries you can find. Swap in other berries as the summer creeps on, or stir in a little fruity booze, you wild thing. —Cristina Sciarra
1, 9-inch layer cake
1.5 cups flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, room temperature
the zest of 1 small lemon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and the salt.
n a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.
In yet another small bowl, melt the butter; I used the microwave in 10 second intervals.
Add the wet ingredients and the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to gently fold everything together, just until the batter is incorporated. Scrape the batter into the greased pan, and smooth the top with spatula.
Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then move it to a rack to finish cooling.
Strawberry Glaze and Cream:
Wash, dry, and hull the strawberries. Halve them if they are small, and quarter them if they are larger. Move the strawberries to a medium bowl, and toss them with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Let the strawberries sit, 30 minutes-1 hour, until strawberry juice has collected at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour all the strawberry juice (about 2 tablespoons) into another bowl, along with the powdered sugar and lemon juice, and whisk to form the glaze. (Reserve the strawberries.)
In a medium-sized bowl, whip the cream. Fold in the mascarpone. Cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to build the cake.
Putting Everything Together:
Use a bread knife to cut the cake into two, even halves. Use a spatula to spread the cream across the bottom half. (Leave about 1/2-inch of space on the edges; the cream will smoosh out when you place the other cake half on top.) Spread most of the reserved strawberries over the cream. Place the second half of the cake on top. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Decorate with the remaining strawberries–a pile in the middle, or scattered around the edges.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.