Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Topped with a Lemon Simple Syrup when it's hot out of the oven, the lemon cornmeal cake is moist, sticky, and wonderfully lemony. But this cake's real charm is in its versatility. It makes for a great dessert, but it also doubles as an afternoon snack due to the fact that it's not as sweet as most cakes. Heck, I've even been known to eat it for breakfast! Also, because it's made with almond flour and cornmeal, it incidentally happens to be gluten free. But make no mistake, this is not another one of those gluten-free foods that pales in comparison to its gluten-y alternative. The cornmeal is perfect here; with it, the cake has the slightly crunchy texture I love.
Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson
Makes one 9" cake
When zesting the lemon, avoid using the bitter white pith.
14 tablespoons butter - 7 ounces —softened—plus more for buttering pan
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar - 6.13 ounces
2 cups almond flour - 6.5 ounces
¾ cup medium or fine ground cornmeal - 4.1 ounces
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Lemon Simple Syrup:
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice - 2 ounces
¼ cup granulated sugar - 1.75 ounces
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F . Butter and line a 9" round cake pan with parchment paper.
Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Combine the dry ingredients. Beat approximately ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter followed by the remaining dry ingredients. End by stirring in the lemon zest. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and place it in the middle of a preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean (if using a thermometer, aim for between 190°F and 200°F in the center of the cake).
Begin to prepare the Lemon Simple Syrup as soon as the cake goes into the oven, as it's best for the syrup to cool for 20-30 minutes before pouring it onto the cake. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
When the cake is hot out of the oven, poke the top multiple times with a cake tester. Pour the Lemon Simple Syrup all over the cake, spreading it evenly with a silicone baking brush or spatula. Allow time for the syrup to soak in and for the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. When I'm ready to plate my cake, I invert it onto a plate topped with parchment paper (dusted with confectioners’ sugar in order to prevent sticking), then invert it again onto a cake plate. The cake is tender and will break easily, so be very careful. Finally, if desired, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar before serving.