Friday, June 12, 2009

Meyer Lemon-Cornmeal Loaf Cake

This cake is pretty much amazing. In fact, I had to make it twice in the space of a couple of days because it was so popular! It has a perfectly moist-yet-fluffy texture, and it's sweet from the cornmeal and sugar but also just the right amount of tart from the double dose of lemon. I love the technique of pouring a glaze over the hot cake. It makes the inside moist while icing the cake all in one, and it's totally non-fussy--no spreading icing or decorating. Maybe the best thing about this cake is that it's sweet enough to be a totally satisfying dessert, but not so sweet that I won't eat it for breakfast (well, I'll eat almost any dessert for breakfast, but this one doesn't feel so guilty!). Yum.

Meyer Lemon-Cornmeal Loaf Cake (adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T Meyer lemon zest
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups (packed) powdered sugar, sifted
2 T (or more) freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.

2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla in small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold liquids into flour mixture until just blended (do not stir). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.

3. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 30-40 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze: whisk together the sugar and lemon juice until you get a smooth and pourable sauce. Add more lemon juice as needed.

4. Immediately poke the top of the cake all over with a long skewer while the cake is still hot. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula. Some of the glaze will soak into the cake and some will stay on top as a glaze.


  1. okay, i'm sold. this sounds amazing.

  2. Sara, this cake is so luscious ... tempting ... tempting ...

  3. nothing wrong with dessert for breakfast ;)
    Looks lovely, perfect balance of sweet and tart!

  4. Gah! Every time I think I have the perfect lemon cake recipe, another recipe comes along and tempts me. The cornmeal is getting me in this one... looks delicious!

  5. This was utterly delicious and really well received by my work colleagues. This glaze is utterly divine. Most delicious cake ever.

    Made a couple of modifications for me -- used half white flour and I upped the amount of cornmeal to 1/2 cup -- which somehow, unfortunately, gave me a center spot that was pretty raw so I'll just cook it longer next time (and the knife came out clean). Also, I didn't have buttermilk so I just juiced 1/2 meyer lemon and put it into the milk to curdle it (and let it sit for 10 minutes).

  6. This cake was AMAZING! Gave me great use for meyer lemons (skin and all). My work colleagues adored it. And that glaze - that glaze - so incredible!

    Made a few minor hacks with the recipe. Used half white flour, 1/2 c cornmeal and a bit too much buttermilk (as I make my own with regular milk and 1/2 a juiced Meyer lemon -- and needed to dial back the milk to compensate for the lemon addition as my center was a bit underdone - will just cook longer next time!). Also reco greasing/flouring the pan -- or adding a parchment liner as mine stuck to the bottom of the pan (which no one noticed - they were too quiet eating it!)

    Utterly incredible. Thanks for sharing!