Martha's Cornmeal Cake

When I bake for myself and my partner, I select recipes that are simple and delicious. And in the summer, it's all about using the oven for the least amount of time possible! Aside from crisps and cobblers, one of my favourite Martha dessert recipes to make in the summer is her cornmeal cake with blueberries and cream. It's a very simple recipe. I would classify it as rustic - nothing fancy about it at all. But it's delicious with a cup of tea at the end of a light summer meal.
The cake is light and crumbly with a hint of honey and a sugary crust. The addition of sour cream in the batter helps retain some moisture. The serving suggestion is to cut each piece, lengthwise, to create two layers, sandwiching the cream and fresh blueberries between the two. Other berries, such as strawberries or raspberries - or a mixture of several varieties - would also work in this recipe. I will occasionally add a drizzle of honey between the layers before adding the whipped cream for an extra bit of sweetness.
The cake bakes for just 30 minutes at 375 degrees: a blessing on hot summer days. The top of the cake is moistened with water and sprinkled with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar before baking. This creates a sweet crust that adds a nice bit of texture.
The recipe can be found in Martha's book "Dinner at Home." With few ingredients and very simple instructions, the cake is easy to make on a weeknight.
The book is becoming a favourite of mine as time goes on. What I like is that the recipes are grouped by season and then grouped into meals (usually four recipes per meal) including a main course, a side-dish, a salad and a dessert. This makes menu planning a breeze. Most of the recipes are quite simple to make and are designed to be made quickly. You can order the book here.


Cornmeal is used throughout the world as a cooking staple in myriad ways. It is dried corn that has been ground to either fine, medium or coarse consistencies - although never as fine as corn flour. Steel-ground yellow cornmeal is the most commonly used variety in North America: the husk and the germ of the corn kernel is almost completely removed in the grinding process. If stored in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dry place, cornmeal can be kept for up to a year. It is used in baking (cornbread, spoonbread, corn fritters, hushpuppies and johnnycakes), as a batter for fried foods (fish, corn dogs)  and in mixtures, such as porridge and grits.

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