The first cake smelled and tasted wonderfully, but it was a little too crumbly and I wasn't happy with the presentation (see picture below). The blueberries inside the cake imparted a bluish tinge that didn't look appetizing to me. With the second one I made two big mistakes: I forgot to add margarine and sugar to the batter, so you can imagine how it came out:) I also used a type of cornmeal and rice flour that was a bit coarse and didn't like the texture much.
And now the lucky number 3! I was in the best mood to make the cake again. I resolved to use the same ingredients as the first time and decided to focus on the details. I also chose to leave the cake plain in order to avoid that unappealing tint from the blueberries. After baking for 25 minutes I checked the cake four or five times every few minutes to make sure it doesn't dry out, nor remain soggy on the bottom. The cake was baked to perfection! The texture was just between light and dense, slightly crumbly, but holding its shape wonderfully. With its sweet, lemony aroma and fresh, fruity taste, this cake is fit for a special occasion. As for appearance, the third one was the most appetizing: the pale yellow of the cake and the deep red-purple of the sauce created a mouthwatering combination.
Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake
- 3/4 cup very fine cornmeal (1 cup = 250 ml)
- 3/4 cup very fine brown rice flour
- 2 Tb corn flour (starch) - the white one which is used as a thickening agent
- 3/4 cup demerara sugar
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup soy buttermilk (see instructions)
- 2 flax eggs (see instructions)
- 90 g vegan margarine (75% fat) - the hard, block type, not the soft, spreadable one
- 1 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tb finely grated lemon zest
- Mix the dry ingredients very well in a bowl.
- Cut the margarine in small pieces and add them to a small pot. Place it on low heat and warm it up to melt. Remove from heat when it's almost all melted and continue stirring with a spoon until it's all done. Let cool a little while preparing the rest.
- In a small bowl add 1/2 cup soy milk and 1 tsp lemon juice. Give it a stir and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle.
- Grind 2 Tb brown flax seeds in a coffee grinder for a few seconds until it becomes almost a powder (or buy it ready made). Don't process too much so it doesn't release the oils. If you can find golden flax seeds, use them instead and the cake will have a brighter yellow colour. In a cup add the ground flax seeds and 6 Tb lukewarm water. Mix and let sit to thicken.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a 20 cm (8") loose bottom pan with parchment paper and very lightly oil the bottom and sides of the pan (see how to do that in the Orange Cake post).
- Add all the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly until there are no lumps (I've made many wonderfully aromatic cakes, but no batter smelled so divinely that I'd actually want to taste it. You've got to make it to know how tempting this is).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and give it a little shake to even out the surface. Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (the cake will crack and that's ok because the cracks will help absorb the blueberry juice, but you don't want it to crack too much, as that will cause it to dry out and become too crumbly; it will also look bad and it won't hold its shape properly. So after 25-30 minutes you can start testing if it's done and adjust the time accordingly. The success of this cake will also depend on your oven. I baked mine on the middle rack using heat from top and bottom, and after 25 minutes I placed an oven tray on the highest level above the cake to prevent uneven baking, browning and too much cracking - and it worked!)
- When done, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack. After a few minutes the cake pulled away from the sides and there was no need to run a knife around the edges. Let it sit for about 20 minutes until it has cooled enough to handle and carefully remove it from the pan. Without removing the parchment paper slide it off the bottom of the pan and onto the wire rack to cool completely. By then the paper will be almost detached from the cake so it will be easy to remove. Here's an easy way: pull the cake over the edge of the rack; pull the paper down while sliding one hand under the cake. Keep pulling the cake over the edge and use your other hand to peel the paper from underneath it. For the last third of the cake use both your hands and just push the paper down with the fingers. You need both hands to keep it from breaking. Being gluten-free, it is not as elastic as a gluten one.
- Carefully place the cake on a large plate. Using a thin knife, gently cut the cake in any shape you like. I made slices, squares and diamonds.
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
- 3 Tb demerara sugar
- 2 Tb water
- 1 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tb corn flour (starch)
- 1 Tb water
After removing the cake from the oven, prepare the sauce. Add blueberries, sugar, water and lemon juice to a pot and place on low heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the blueberries start releasing their juice. This takes just a few minutes. In a cup mix the corn flour with water. When you notice a few blueberries starting to soften and becoming mushy, add the corn flour paste and mix it in. Stir gently for 1-2 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools. The sauce shouldn't be too thick, else it won't be absorbed into the cake, nor too runny.
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