blueberry cornmeal cake.

Because the suspense of hosting my first give-a-way nearly killed me and I didn't even qualify to enter, let's get right down to business. The winner of the $25 Bake It Pretty gift voucher is Taylor from greens and chocolate! Thanks to everyone who participated and for all the squishy-feel-good comments, we'll do it again sometime soon.

Now, onto more delicious things like...I don't know, Blueberry Cornmeal Cake? I've had a subscription to Bon Appetit for a little less than a year and despite the drool that makes the once glossy-now drippy pages stick together, I rarely cook from them. I know, what's the point of getting the magazine if I never try the recipes? I am filled with shame, believe me. It's just that I am absolutely inundated with food photos and recipes, they come from every angle: the television, fellow bloggers, cookbooks and even the ever-growing stack of magazines on my desk. There's so many good recipes out there that I tend to make an erasable mental note and file it away and then I get so excited over the next issue's arrival I forget about all the pages I dog-eared in the last one. (Here's hoping I won't be that Mom who forgets about her toddler because a new baby arrives. Sick.)

Despite my mother's best attempts to retire the May 2010 issue to the hall bathroom magazine carrier, I remembered this recipe last Sunday and planned to tell you about it, but then my calendar reminded me that this blog had a birthday to celebrate and those chocolate chip cookies insisted on flaunting their stuff all around these parts and this cake was helplessly kicked to the back corner. Cookies can be aggressive that way.

This recipe didn't come with a photo, which always makes me a little leery, but we walk by faith, not by sight, yes? Yes. I used to think I liked cornbread, but I don't think that's true, I think what I like is corn-cake, sweet and moist to be served like a dessert and not a drier, savory wedge of it tucked beneath a spicy chili. I realize that's probably a borderline blasphemous claim for some die-hard cornbread aficionados, but I'm trying to keep it real here.

I was a little worried about it being dry because it seems even a teaspoon of cornmeal is enough to dry up the Atlantic ocean, but this cake gets a huge boost of moisture from ricotta cheese and yogurt mixed into the pale yellow batter. The original recipe calls for plain yogurt, but Greek yogurt is so thick and inviting I had to swap it out; I recommend you do the same, you won't be sorry. The batter is layered with blueberries that I had hoped would stay freckled throughout the batter, but despite being separated by a layer of cake batter, they still managed to sink into one layer in the center, which isn't entirely a bad thing. I cheated and used frozen blueberries because I can't stomach paying fifteen dollars to get the three cups of fresh blueberries it asked for in the original, but if you happen to be lucky enough to catch them on sale, you might have better luck keeping the layers apart.

This cake is sort of humble looking, which is fine by me because I find hussied up cakes to be a little intimidating sometimes when you need something that will pass for breakfast and a slice coated in fudge frosting won't fly, this cake comes to the rescue. The outside is crisp around the edges and top with sugar dusted over the berries just before baking and the inside stays super-moist and sweet with blueberry. The cornmeal isn't terribly strong, but it provides a good, hearty base for this everyday cake. I ate is plain, but I hear it's delicious with coffee, and maybe a sprinkle of powdered sugar on the top. But it's still a rainy Monday, let's not get carried away.

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit : May 2010

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour and next 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and honey in another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl until creamy. With mixer running on medium speed, gradually add egg mixture; beat to blend. Beat in flour mixture just to blend. Add ricotta and yogurt; beat on low speed just to blend. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Scatter 1 1/2 cups blueberries over. Spoon remaining batter over in dollops, then spread to cover blueberries. Scatter remaining blueberries over. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over.

Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

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