Behold, it is time for good cheer!
What better way to show your loved ones how much you care than by stuffing them full of cake?
I was drawn to this cake by one interesting component – cornmeal. I don’t know about you, but I love cornmeal. So does Chris. Surprisingly, Chris doesn’t like whole kernel corn, though. He says it’s just a whole lot of nothing and can’t understand why people like it. Me, I’m indifferent. But cornmeal, now.
I always find it intriguing when cornmeal is worked into sweet baked goods. It seems to make them a little more substantial, a little more rustic, and I feel just the tiniest bit less guilty eating them. I know that really doesn’t make sense, because this cake contains a stick and a half of butter and 6 egg yolks, but it does. It just doesn’t seem so bad.
Now the cake. It was good. I liked the crunch of the cornmeal between my teeth as I bit into it, and the combo of orange zest and cranberries is always a winner. It made a dense, moist cake, punctuated by bursts of tart cranberries and the slightly gritty texture of the cornmeal (that doesn’t sound good, I know, but it is). So I’m not raving about it, but I liked it.
It was definitely a bit too sweet. I’d reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup, at least. Especially with something as hearty as cornmeal, you almost want the cake to be a little bit savory.
Cornmeal Cranberry Cake
From Giada deLaurentis
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar (reduce this if you like)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 large oranges)
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time while beating. Mix in vanilla extract.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Mix in little by little into the eggs/butter mixture, until incorporated.
Fold in cranberries.
Scrape into a buttered and floured 9-inch round cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is golden on top. Let cool before removing from pan.