Makes one 8-to-9-inch tube cake; serves 6 to 8
This simple cornmeal butter cake, with the double crunch of cornmeal and chopped almonds, will brighten the morning. For dessert at the restaurant, Andrea served this cake with berries and a touch of whipped cream. "I like it with a glass of milk," he once told me.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise,
or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (about 4 ounces) unblanched almonds
1/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch
1/2 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large egg whites
Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-to-9-inch kugelhopf or Bundt pan; set aside. Place the 1/2 cup butter, the 1/2 cup sugar, the egg yolks and the orange and lemon zests in a large bowl. If using the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the pod into the butter mixture, or add the extract. Beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy; set aside.
2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, potato starch or cornstarch, cornmeal and baking powder; process until powdery. Sift this mixture onto a sheet of wax paper (if bits of almond remain in the sifter, return them to the mixture); set aside.
3. In a bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sugar until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the beaten egg whites into the butter mixture; fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated. Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, usually about 40 minutes (the timing can vary with the pan used; do not overbake).
5. Cool the cake briefly in the pan on a wire rack. Run the tip of a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it from the pan; invert onto the rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve lukewarm or at room temperature.
Classic Home Desserts
A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes
By Richard Sax
Houghton Mifflin, May 2000
688 pages, 48 color photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2000
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