Each month when Food & Wine magazine comes I eagerly flip through the pages and dog-ear all the recipes I want to make. Do I ever make them? Rarely. Not that I don’t want to. I never seem to find the time to get through the ever-growing stack of recipes I want to try. And then a month comes and goes and a new issue of Food & Wine arrives and I repeat the process.
And then there was Cornmeal Almond cake.
In the March issue of Food & Wine there is a lovely recipe for Cornmeal Almond Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone. The picture made me drool and after reading the description I knew I had to make this cake. So I rushed to the store to gather my ingredients and begin baking. This recipe calls for 3 cups of almonds! I’m an almond lover so this was super exciting and intriguing. What would all these almonds – toasted and finely ground – do to the texture of the cake? I needed to know.
The cake took no time to make. After baking In the oven for 45 minutes, the cake is ready to cool and be slathered with a mascarpone whipped cream.
Can we take a second to talk about mascarpone whipped cream? Why isn’t all whipped cream made with mascarpone? Why? The resulting whipped cream is extra smooth with a subtle tang. It is incredible.
And the cake. Oh the cake. Buttery, nutty, with great texture and crumble. All those almonds exude amazing flavor into the batter and create a great texture for each bite. The mascarpone brings together the crumbly cake and the sweet strawberries adding a nice silky finish. The cornmeal is really a background player – this cake is all about the almonds.
Cornmeal Almond Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone
make one 9 inch cake
3 cups sliced blanched almonds (about 10 ounces)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Spread the almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let cool completely, then transfer the almonds to a food processor and process until finely ground but not pasty.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla, scraping down the bowl, until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at time, beating well between additions. Scrape down the bowl and beat the batter until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the lemon zest and juice. With a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the batter, then the cornmeal and the ground almonds.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the cake to a wire rack, still in the pan, and let cool to room temperature.
In a large stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whip until barely firm peaks form.
Run a thin knife around the side of the cake pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Place a plate on top of the cake and turn the cake right side up. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with the mascarpone cream and
Averie @ Averie CooksApril 3, 2012
Your opening photo is so sharp and clear…I want to reach thru my screen and GRAB a berry right off the top!
NastassiaApril 3, 2012
Thanks Averie! it was hard not to eat the whole cake it one sitting!
ElliottApril 3, 2012
Another one I would eat! My mom made something similar to this a few years back, but I love the touch of the almonds! I’ll have to forward this along to her…
BananawonderApril 3, 2012
I saw this in Food and Wine too. I never get the mag, but was traveling so splurged and saw this cake and remembered your instagram. I am so making this! Thanks for the confirmation. Can’t wait to try the frosting…
NastassiaApril 4, 2012
Elliot – your Mom would love this!
Anna- I hope you make it this weekend I just know you’ll enjoy all the almond goodness 🙂
GastronomerApril 4, 2012
I think we should be neighbors. Then we could share all of the delightful things that come out of our ovens! This one looks so good!
Robert Richards RecipesApril 5, 2012
This looks really good and I’m excited to give it a try!
Miss KApril 5, 2012
NastassiaApril 8, 2012
Cathy- I wish we were neighbors the bounty of goodies would be endless!