Make Ahead

Blackberry Fig Cornmeal Cake

September  6, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Becca Firkser | Spices and Spatulas
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes 1 9-inch cake
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kristen Kemp
    Kristen Kemp
  • Rebecca Firkser
    Rebecca Firkser
  • Bec42

4 Reviews

Kristen K. July 4, 2018
Could I use this cake as a pour over for a berry cobbler? I'm going to give it a try and see how it goes, but wondering if anyone else has already tried. Thank you and happy 4th!
Rebecca F. July 5, 2018
I've never tried that, but I hope it worked out!
Bec42 December 29, 2015
Made two of these last week and got rave reviews from both places I brought it! It's closer to cornbread than cake, but really delicious especially perfect for a brunch dessert. I couldn't get figs so used about double the berries, also used coconut milk in place of soy and added honey to one. This would be great with other fruits too, blackberries & raspberries, plums & peaches. Poured some cream over it for round 2 which was amazing - suited it better than whipped cream I think! Second house I brought it too has a wheat and egg allergy so my friend was very excited to find a dessert that she can eat.
Rebecca F. December 30, 2015
So glad to hear that the cakes were a success!