Gluten-Free Tuesday: Cornmeal Cake

Elizabeth Barbone

I love this cake for many reasons: it's easy to make, pairs well with summer fruits, and is dairy-free. But most of all, I love how it seems to transform depending on how you serve it. With a cup of tea in the morning, it resembles a breakfast cake; toasted and served with macerated berries spooned over the top, it's suddenly an elegant summer dessert.

Unlike many pound cake-style bundt cakes, this one doesn't use butter. To achieve the delicate texture, you start by whipping eggs and granulated sugar together until the eggs are thick and pale yellow. This takes about five minutes and can't be rushed. Those whipped eggs, along with two teaspoons of baking powder, leven the cake. If the eggs aren't whipped enough, the cake bakes up unpleasantly dense. After the eggs and granulated sugar are whipped, simply add the dry ingredients and mix.

Here's where the method gets a little weird. After the dry ingredients are incorporated, you add a quarter cup of vegetable oil. This causes your lovely batter to deflate. At first it looks, well, wrong. The light batter turns shiny with oil. That's okay, just keep whipping it. After about a minute, the oil is incorporated into the batter, which again thickens and lightens. Transfer the batter to a prepared bundt pan and bake.

For me, it's once the cake is baked that the real challenge begins. How do I serve it? While it's great on its own, I often plate it with fresh berries or lemon curd. Another nice option is to grill it and serve with some fresh or grilled pineapple. And don't forget about trifles! Cube the cake and layer it in a large bowl with whipped cream, pastry cream or pudding, berries, and, if you feel like it, nuts and chocolate. The serving options for this cake are endless! Have fun customizing it all summer long.