One of my favorite warm-weather activities is picking strawberries at a local farm – the fruit just tastes better straight from the field.
This recipe is a nod to those sun-kissed berries. Whether you pick your own or buy them at the farmers’ market, choose strawberries that are dry, plump and deep red in color from bottom to top. Roasting concentrates their natural sugars; the result is a complexly flavored and aromatic topping for this fluffy cornmeal cake.
Cornmeal Cake with Roasted Strawberries
Serves | 10 |
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup, plus 3 Tbsp, unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp canola oil
- 2½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¹⁄₃ cup ricotta
- ¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 2 lbs fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- ¼ tsp orange blossom water
| Preparation – Cornmeal Cake | Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. One at a time, add eggs, beating well after each addition. Add oil and vanilla extract; mix to combine. (The mixture will appear curdled – that’s OK.) Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add ricotta, yogurt and flour mixture; mix on low until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan and spread out into an even layer using an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake, 38 to 40 minutes or until deeply golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the roasted strawberries (recipe follows).
Carefully invert cake onto a clean plate and gently remove parchment paper. Return cake right-side up. Slice and serve with a topping of warm roasted strawberries, plus a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
| Preparation – Roasted Strawberries | Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse, pat dry, hull and halve strawberries. In a bowl, toss together strawberries, sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds and scraped pod. Transfer strawberry mixture to prepared baking sheet, including vanilla bean pod.
Roast until strawberries are tender and juices are flowing, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven and discard vanilla bean pod. Drizzle with orange blossom water and gently stir in without crushing the strawberries.