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Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

OK, so maybe you didn’t make those candied violets like I suggested in my last post, but you can put this cake together in less time than it takes to go to the store and buy the ingredients. Of course if you had made those candied violets, you could use some of them to decorate the top of this cake. Don’t worry, the cake looks pretty with the lemon glaze alone and you can even get fancy and make a cross-hatch design like I did.  The recipe is from Bon Appétit magazine but I first saw it on The Food Librarian’s blog. April 2010 438 It’s called a lemon cornmeal cake, but honestly, without the lemon glaze, the cake has a very subtle lemon flavor. I might add even more lemon peel to the recipe next time. It’s really so simple to make you don’t even need a mixer – just a bowl and mixing spoon. If you don’t have the candied violet decoration, you might want to make the blueberry sauce that Bon Appétit includes. April 2010 400 The cake is deliciously moist and has a tender crumb and you’ll probably find yourself falling back on this recipe all the time. You don’t even have to think ahead of time about having the butter at room temperature – it gets melted in a pan instead. If you happen to have any of those candied pansies, place one in the center with a mint leaf and stand back to admire. It’s almost too pretty to eat.  But I never let that get in the way of me and my fork. April 2010 456 Lemon Cornmeal Cake Printable recipe here from Bon Appétit Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon Juice


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

For glaze:
Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in small bowl. Stir with spoon until smooth and paste-like, adding more lemon juice by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to spread. Set aside. For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line bottom with parchment. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon peel, 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. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Immediately run knife around sides of cake. Place rack atop cake in pan. Using oven mitts, hold pan and rack firmly together and invert cake onto rack. Remove pan from cake. Place another rack on bottom of cake; invert 1 more time so that cake is top side up. Stir glaze until blended. While cake is still very hot, drop glaze by tablespoonfuls onto cake; spread to within 1/2 inch of edge (some glaze may drip down sides of cake). Cool completely.

This Post Has 34 Comments
  1. I love these simple and delicious cakes any kind of lemony yellow cake I love its beautiful linda nice job!
    come on by for a hearty breakfast when you have a chance!

  2. Linda, this is a beautiful cake. I love its simplicity and will try it as soon as the occasion rises. I hope all is well and that you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  3. How beautiful! The cross hatch design with the violets is so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe (any recipe that doesn't require a mixer and comes out so perfect is a good one for me!) I need to remember this one for using up extra cornmeal and buttermilk.
    ps. I saw some violets growing in the yard over the weekend and I thought about picking them to eat until I realized my husband had just put down step 1 of his grass fertilizer!

  4. I have had this cake and it is indeed a winner…but mine was not as beautiful as yours Linda!
    Gorgeous pics and the decoration is so pretty…

  5. Just perfect! I too love the simplicity of this recipe, and your right it broke my heart to see it cut in to…but I bet it was worth it 😉

  6. I made this last spring! I remember loving the texture and wishing for more lemon. Okay, it wasn't nearly as pretty. And no, I didn't put candied violets on it. But now I know what to do next time! (My foraging turned up three violets.)

  7. I am mesmerized by the look of this luscious cake and not surprised by all the comments expressing the same. It's just beautiful to behold. I love cornmeal in desserts. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

  8. Wow, Linda, this is a beautiful cake! While I do love the candied flowers, I would almost hate to eat them and mess up a perfectly decorated cake. The blueberry sauce sounds tasty as well. I'm loving the cross hatch design. Very elegant lemon cake.

  9. Oh what poetry…I LOVE your cake and I was looking for the candied violet recipe, so..tantissime Grazie Linda! 😀
    mille bacioni :-*
    Ago 😀

  10. Che bella, Linda! I have a weakness for all things lemon and cornmeal, so I am definitely adding this to my "to bake" list. And those candied violets! You have inspired me; my violets are taking over sections of the garden so now they are destined for a sweet finish. Beautiful photos, too.

  11. Oh my goodness! This is the most lovely cake I've seen in an age an a half. The combination of ingredients looks fabulous. And I so admire your skills and artistry with the flowers decorating the cake too.

  12. Love the candied violets. As you know…my latest flavor obsession is violet. This cake looks too pretty to eat. It makes me want to have a tea party.

  13. I saw this in BA and on a few other blogs. Yours is, hands down, the prettiest version of all– including BA's!! How I wish I could find violets, but not in my part of CA. The dishes are exquisite, and the photos superb. You have finally sold me on making this– without the blueberry sauce. I am so making this, pinkie promise.

  14. what a beautiful cake! and the cornmeal sounds so interesting. Im going to have to give this one a try. I just might even give those pretty little violets a try

  15. I made this cake…new I had to the
    minute I saw the recipe…and it did
    not dissappoint…Just delicious and
    easy as can be. I did cut the glaze recipe in half…it gave enough lemony sweetness for me. YUM

  16. This is so pretty! I love cornmeal in cakes too – I just last week made a polenta and rhubarb cake and I have some left over polenta…This might be what I use it for!

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