Rustic Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Warm Peach Compote

During our pastry module at school, we made some pretty impressive cakes. Layers, buttercream, ganache, the works. There is a time and a place for a fancy iced cake, and for one that is simple, rustic and weekday-quick. Like a sweeter cornbread, this cake is perfect for brunch, an afternoon snack or dessert. A gently spiced peach compote gives a nod to the cinnamon season to come.

Rustic Lemon Cornmeal Cake 

Yield: 8 servings


  •  1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch diameter cake pan.
  2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, lemon peel, vanilla and almond extracts, honey and melted, cooled butter. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture, gently folding to combine until just blended (do not stir). Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evening.
  3.  Bake 30 minutes or until cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes. You can invert the cake or serve it straight from the pan for a rustic feel. Serve warm or at room temperature with Warm Peach Compote.

Warm Peach Compote

Yield: About 1 cup


  • 2-3 peaches, peeled* and sliced
  • 1 T. honey
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cinnamon
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the peaches, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened.

*To peel peaches, bring a large pot of water to boil. Make an ‘X’ mark on peaches with a sharp knife. Set up a bowl with ice water nearby. Drop peaches into boiling water and remove with a slotted spoon after about 1 minute, or until skin starts to peel away. Place peaches in ice water for 30 seconds. Remove skin and slice.

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