rhubarb cornmeal cake

April 21, 2011 | 6 comments

rhubarb cornmeal cake

It has been way too long since I made a dessert that was not taste-bud killer sweet. I don’t like to point the finger here, but there is a certain person in my house, who I happen to be married too and have said the most sincerest vows too, that thinks the word dessert means pure sugar. He expects and wants to be put in a sugar coma after every dinner, to have his teeth fall out before he hits 25, and to get type 2 diabetes before he has finished his plate. And I try to oblige (on very special occasions) by making his favorite chocolate peanut butter cake — in which one of the two frostings call for 6 cups of confectioner’s sugar, that I have secretly reduced to 1 cup without hearing a single complaint — nutella ice cream — which is the perfect combination of a cold creamy sweet and chocolate hazelnut, but so rich a spoonful is enough to satisfy your craving, unless of course your name is Meg’s marriage buddy — and toasted coconut bread — that he swore was not sweet enough until I added extra brown sugar on top of the cake. I think he has an addiction.

dry ingredientsmixingready to bake

And because I would prefer to not be married to a toothless, diabetic, comatose husband I thought I would lay off the chocolate peanut butter fudge piled high on top of slightly caramelized crispy treats, and (though I fear I will have hell to pay for this next one) not indulge in nutella tart-ed or ice cream-ed confections. Or, as I tell my husband, we are taking a mini-sugar break because of my grandparents who cannot tolerate sugar in such concentrated doses as he, which only seems to utter a longing wishful sigh as he takes a small break for four hours to eat something less sweet.

ruby red rhubarbslicingchopped

I’m not such an evil witch, though. I macerated and cooked the rhubarb in wine and citrusy zest creating a tart, sweet, boozy compote to go along with a cornmeal cake that in fact tastes nothing like cornbread despite its corn-bread like qualities. It is definitely cake, having the very slightest feeling of cornmeal — I’d say just enough to make you feel slightly good about your choice; that it feels somewhat healthier than the other option of a flour-less chocolate cake, but overall it makes you happy that it is not heavy and dense — and is the perfect balance of a non sugar laden sweet yet is very much cake, which frankly puzzles the man who likes to share my bed at night, but that’s what it is people.

citrusboozy compotecornmeal cake with rhubarb compote

One Year Ago: White Bean and Red Onion Salad

Cornmeal Cake with Rhubarb Compote
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Cornmeal Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Finely grated orange peel from 1 orange
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons light brown sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a loaf pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Dust pan with cornmeal, tapping out excess. Sift flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Beat in orange peel. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients in 3 additions until just incorporated. Transfer batter to pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with brown sugar (I added about a teaspoon or so on top, but don’t think it needed it; the husband of course thought it did).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes for loaf pan, 25 to 30 minutes for cake pan. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Run knife around pan sides to loosen. Turn cake out onto plate, then invert, sugar side up, onto rack. Cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Wrap in foil; let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into wedges. Serve with Boozy Rhubarb Compote alongside.

Boozy Rhubarb Compote:
2 cups Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup sugar
2-inch-long strips orange peel (orange part only), whole orange
2-inch-long strips lemon peel (yellow part only), whole lemon
6 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (about 2 pounds trimmed)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine wine, sugar, orange peel, and lemon peel in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb and salt and simmer until rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape, about 9 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to shallow dish, arranging in single layer. Boil wine syrup in saucepan until thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, it will be reduced down to about 1/2 cup. Add rhubarb and any juices accumulated. Take off heat to cool. Serve compote slightly warm with cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Conversions & Equivalents

Volume | Baking | Metric | Pan Size | Temperature | Oven | Other

1/2 teaspoon = 30 drops
1 teaspoon = 1/3 tablespoon OR 60 drops
3 teaspoon = 1 tablespoon or 1/2 fluid ounce
1/2 tablespoon = 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons or 1/2 fluid ounce
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
3 tablespoons = 1 1/2 fluid ounces
4 tablespoons = 1 1/4 cup or 2 fluid ounces
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup or 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup or 4 fluid ounces
10 2/3 tablespoons = 2/3 cup or 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup or 6 fluid ounces
16 tablespoons = 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1/2 pint
1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces
1/3 cup = 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces
2/3 cup = 10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
5/8 cup = 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup = 12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces
7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons or 1/2 pint or 8 fluid ounces
2 cups = 1 pint or 16 fluid ounces
1 pint = 2 cups or 16 fluid ounces
1 quart = 2 pints or 4 cups or 32 fluid ounces
1 gallon = 4 quarts or 8 pints or 16 cups or 128 fluid ounces
FLOUR
1 cup all-purpose flour = 5 ounces or 142 grams
1 cup cake flour = 4 ounces or 113 grams
1 cup whole wheat flour = 5 1/2 ounces or 156 grams
SUGAR
1 cup granulated white sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup packed brown sugar = 7 ounces or 198 grams
1 cup confectioners sugar = 4 ounces or 113 grams
COCOA POWDER
1 cup cocoa powder = 3 ounces or 85 grams
BUTTER
4 tablespoons = 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup or 2 ounces
8 tablespoons = 1 stick or 1/2 cup or 4 ounces
16 tablespoons = 2 sticks or 1 cup or 8 ounces
32 tablespoons = 4 sticks or 2 cups or 1 pound
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
1/2 teaspoon = 2.46 milliliters
3/4 teaspoon = 3.7 milliliters
1 teaspoon = 4.93 milliliters
1 1/4 teaspoon = 6.16 milliliters
1 1/2 teaspoon = 7.39 milliliters
1 3/4 teaspoon = 8.63 milliliters
2 teaspoon = 9.86 milliliters
1 tablespoon = 14.79 milliliters
2 tablespoons = 29.57 milliliters
1/4 cup = 59.15 milliliters
1/2 cup = 118.3 milliliters
1 cup = 236.59 milliliters
2 cups or 1 pint = 473.18 milliliters
3 cups = 709.77 milliliters
4 cups or 1 quart = 946.36 milliliters
1/4 teaspoon = 1.23 milliliters
4 quarts or 1 gallon = 3.785 liters
PAN SIZE VOLUME CAN SUBSTITUTE WITH
1 8-inch round cake pan 4 cups

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch pie plate

2 8-inch round cake pans 8 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 9-inch round cake pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dish

1 10-inch springform pan

1 10-inch round cake pan 11 cups

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9-inch tube pan

1 10-inch springform pan

2 10-inch round cake pans 22 cups

5 8-inch round cake pans

3 or 4 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch spring form pan

9-inch tube pan 12 cups

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

10-inch tube pans 16 cups

3 9-inch round cake pans

2 10-inch pie plates

4 8-inch pie plates

2 9x5-inch loaf pans

2 8-inch square baking dishes

2 9-inch square baking dishes

10-inch bundt pan 12 cups

1 9x13-inch baking dish

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 9-inch tube pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

1 10-inch springform pan

11x7x2-inch baking dish 6 cups

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch round cake pan

9x13x2-inch baking dish 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

3 8-inch round cake pans

1 10x15-inch jellyroll pan

10x15x1-inch jellyroll pan 15 cups

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

2 8-inch round cake pan

1 9x13-inch baking dish

9x5-inch loaf pan 8 cups

1 10-inch pie plate pan

1 8-inch square baking dish

1 9-inch square baking dish

8x4-inch loaf pan 6 cups

1 8-inch round cake pan

1 11x7-inch baking dish

9-inch springform pan 10 cups

1 10-inch round cake pan

1 10-inch spring form pan

2 8-inch round cake pans

2 9-inch round cake pans

10-inch springform pan 12 cups

2 8x4-inch loaf pan

1 9-inch tube pan

2 9-inch round cake pans

1 10-inch bundt pan

2 11x7-inch baking dishes

2 8-inch round cake pans

8-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plates

9-inch square baking dish 8 cups

1 11x7-inch baking dish

1 9x5-inch loaf pan

2 8-inch pie plate

Water Freezes 32°F 0°C
  40°F 4.4°C
  50°F 10°C
  60°F 15.6°C
  70°F 21.1°C
  80°F 26.7°C
  90°F 32.2°C
  100°F 37.8°C
  110°F 43.3°C
  120°F 48.9°C
  130°F 54.4°C
  140°F 60°C
  150°F 65.6°C
  160°F 71.1°C
  170°F 76.7°C
  180°F 82.2°C
  190°F 87.8°C
  200°F 93.3°C
Water Boils 212°F 100°C
  250°F 121°C
  300°F 149°C
  350°F 177°C
  400°F 205°C
  450°F 233°C
  500°F 260°C
275°F = 140°C or Gas Mark 1
300°F = 150°C or Gas Mark 2
325°F = 165°C or Gas Mark 3
350°F = 180°C or Gas Mark 4
375°F = 190°C or Gas Mark 5
400°F = 200°C or Gas Mark 6
425°F = 220°C or Gas Mark 7
450°F = 230°C or Gas Mark 9
475°F = 240°C or Gas Mark 10

And for conversions that are not listed I found a great conversion calculator here!

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  1. Yum!! That cake looks like such a perfect summery dessert. It’s so great to see some tasty dishes made with rhubarb. That stuff is so amazing, but so unappreciated!

  2. My husband is sort of the same way – it’s no so much that he likes really sugary sweets, it’s that he can’t eat anything in moderation. It’s not just one scoop of ice cream, it’s four. He can’t have a sliver of chocolate cake, it’s gotta be 1/4 of the cake or he’s no satisfied. The cornmeal cake looks amazing, I’ll bookmark it for future baking. :)

  3. I find myself almost always making chocolatey super sweet desserts too! My family pretty much insists on nothing but chocolate! But this looks wonderful. I’m certainly convinced!

  4. I had an olive oil cake the other day for dessert and it was so refreshing to taste something that didn’t taste like straight caramel. Your corn and rhubarb combo looks delicious and not sugar-overkill as well.

  5. Oh great idea, Meg. I am supposed to be on a “diet” to reduce my sugar and cholesterol and I gave up Nutella for a while (until I get the test results back). This is a perfect combination. Love the colors (Yellow-red is my favorite soccer team’s colors in Turkey! :) ) Just for this, I will make this one for the end of the league party (it is just me attending!) :)

  6. How fun, I just bought some rhubarb for a smoothie I was working on last night.

 

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