In the process of cleaning out the pantry last week, I found a ziploc bag of recipes that I thought was gone forever. The ripped-out magazine page on the top was for this berry cake that I had made a few years ago. I had often wished I could make it again, but could never find the recipe. Until now. I should clean the pantry more often.
I hate to admit that after I bought the berries to bake this, plans changed and the berries languished in the refrigerator for too long. So when I pulled out all of the ingredients to start mixing, the blackberries and raspberries had passed their prime. It really hurt to throw them out.
But since I already had the rest of the ingredients out on the counter, I figured I'd try the recipe with frozen berries. We make a lot of smoothies, so I had a couple of bags of mixed berries in the freezer. I also added a few frozen dark sweet cherries to the cake pan, just because I had some of those, too. The fresh blueberries were fine still so I used them for the garnish.
This is not the typical sweet dessert that Southerns love. It's a moderately sweet cake. I do think it's best the day you bake it. Finish it the next day, for sure.
And I didn't use basil this time because we had just planted ours and there was none ready to cut yet. Last time I did use it and I liked the addition of the unexpected flavor. It works either way.
UPSIDE-DOWN BERRY CORNMEAL CAKE
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries (I used frozen berries, straight from freezer)
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh basil (I didn't have any this time)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
more berries and fresh basil or mint to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper, grease again. Arrange 1/1/2 cups of berries on bottom of pan; set aside. In a bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, basil, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until combined; pour over berries. Spread evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen sides. Invert onto cake plate. Remove parchment. Spoon glaze over. Top with berries and mint leaves.
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Whisk together. Spoon or lightly brush on warm cake.
Next time I would make more of the lemon glaze. A little more would add a bit more sweetness and moisten the cake a little, too, if I poked a few holes in the cake before I spooned it over. This cake might be nice with a small scoop of lemon sorbet served on side, too.
It's good to know that the frozen berries worked just as well as the fresh ones. I just poured them into the pan while still frozen. When the cake was done, I couldn't tell any difference. I'll likely stick with using the frozen berries now. They are cheaper and don't spoil!