Muppet and I pulled this dessert together about a week ago in honor of some international guests we had visiting. We had the pleasure of hosting three Chinese college students who had won a negotiation competition in China that my wife has been involved with. Part of their “winnings” was a trip to the US to further study our legal-mediation system, and for a bit of good old fashioned tourista time.
They stayed with a host family in Boston for a bit, where they attended a Celtics “WIN” at the garden, and joined us for a visit to the MFA and saw the newly installed Dale Chihuly exhibit, which was quite fabulous. Then they came to stay with us on the South Shore where they were able to visit the Plymouth Plantation, and the Cape Cod National Seashore among other things.
We were happy to host a farewell dinner for them here, where they had a chance to socialize with their Boston based hosts and patrons before they departed on the next stage of their journey stateside. We really wanted to focus on local and seasonal for our special dinner, and there’s hardly anything more local around here than corn and cranberries. A quick trip to the Jenny Grist Mill in town, scored some local cornmeal, and I had plenty of local cranberries in the freezer.
This cake is simple to make, and delicious straight-up if you like, or with fresh berries, lemon curd, chocolate sauce….you name it. We liked the tartness of the cranberry sauce as it played against the sweet glaze, and our visiting students who aren’t used to a lot of sweets in their diet, proclaimed it a HUGE hit!
Enjoy! – Steve
- 1 1/2 cups (packed) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
For the glaze
- Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in small bowl. Stir with spoon until smooth and paste-like, adding more lemon juice by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to spread. Set aside.
For the cake
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line bottom with parchment. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon peel, and vanilla in small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold liquids into flour mixture until just blended (do not stir). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.
- Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes.
- Immediately run knife around sides of cake. Place rack atop cake in pan. Using oven mitts, hold pan and rack firmly together and invert cake onto rack. Remove pan from cake. Place another rack on bottom of cake; invert 1 more time so that cake is top side up. Stir glaze until blended. While cake is still very hot, drop glaze by tablespoonfuls onto cake; spread to within 1/2 inch of edge (some glaze may drip down sides of cake). Cool completely.
For the sauce
- Stir the orange juice and sugar together in a pan over medium heat. Add the cranberries and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until the cranberries burst. Stir in the raspberries; reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Refrigerate or serve warm.