Make Ahead

Blackberry Fig Cornmeal Cake

September  6, 2015
Photo by Becca Firkser | Spices and Spatulas
Author Notes

I think the thing I’ll miss most about summer is the blackberries. I’ll come clean: every time I buy blackberries, most end up in my mouth before I can actually get my cake ingredients together. This happened more than three times during my quest to make this cake. I finally had to buy several cartons: one to jazz up my breakfast smoothie, one to munch on, and one for cake. It was worth it.

I find this cake to be most enjoyable very early in the morning with a large cup of coffee or around 4 pm with…another large cup of coffee. It’s not too sweet, so you could definitely pile on the vanilla ice cream/whipped cream if you feel the need, but I rarely do. It’s also very acceptable to eat half the cake tiny slice by tiny slice with one’s fingers directly from the fridge. Not that I did that or anything. Recipe loosely adapted from Tastebook. —Rebecca Firkser

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes 1 9-inch cake
  • 1 1/4 cups cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 scraped vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla-infused (or regular) sea salt
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 2 fresh figs*, sliced very thinly
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, sugar, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry, and whisk until combined. The batter will be very runny.
  2. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, then take it out of the oven and quickly top with figs and berries. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes, testing at every 5 minutes after 35. When the cake is done, the top will spring back when lightly pressed, and the edges will start to pull back from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely and slice with a serrated knife as not to disturb the berry magic! *NOTE: some vegans/vegetarians don’t eat figs because the plants have a tendency to pull an Audrey II on wasps. I’ll leave it at that, but you can read more here ( if you’re concerned/interested, and use your own discretion when it comes to eating figs.

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Rebecca Firkser is a freelance food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, among them Food52, TASTE, Edible Manhattan, Extra Crispy, The Strategist, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl.