I had such an experience this week, when I chose to bake my most unusual dessert to date – Honey Glazed Blackberry Cornmeal Bundt Cake.
The title fascinated me from the start. Glancing over the recipe, I envisioned a lighter version of my favorite cornbread, flavored with honey throughout, and baked with fresh blackberries.
Naturally, I had to see if the cake would be as good as imagined. So I gathered the ingredients and followed the recipe, minus a couple of exceptions.
- I didn’t buy buttermilk. As a substitute, I used 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1 cup milk.
- The recipe called for 12 oz (1.5 cups) fresh blackberries. I used 2 cups frozen. I still floured the berries before folding into the batter. However, its rigid state minimized the purple pops of color.
- I baked the cake at 325 degrees for my dark coated bundt pan, not 350 as indicated. This added about 5 minutes to the longest baking time.
- I tried to follow the cooling guidelines. But my cake stuck to the pan. Perhaps because I didn’t use a butter and flour coating. I fretted for an hour before finding the hot towel trick. Then, it slid right out.
Relieved, yet less enthusiastic, I paused and put the cake in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I prepared the glaze. Drizzling it over the cake, I regretted using 2 Tbsp milk instead of one. It trickled down the sides. A thicker glaze would’ve clung more. And there was so much. I spooned the excess in the middle.
I stepped back to see the finished product. With the dripping glaze, it wasn’t picturesque. Though it didn’t have to look good to taste good.
I cut a thin slice and took a bite. Cold the cake was unimpressive, like cold cornbread with mushy blackberries.
Wondering if my efforts had been wasted, I warmed another small piece in the microwave.
Heat enlivened the cake, reviving the honey in every crumb, along with the buttery notes. It wasn’t too sweet, but added moisture to the dense cake. What’s more, the blackberries lost their mush and gained a subtle tartness.
Now that may sound nice. Still, it wasn’t as described by the recipe developer: The cornmeal gives this cake an earthy, rustic flavor and a bite that’s somehow both delicate and firm, with just a hint of folksy coarseness.
There were no hints and nothing delicate about the cornmeal. The cake was dressed up cornbread.
For that reason, I rate this recipe 3.5 out of 5 stars. I doubt I’ll make it again, as most friends and family would wonder why I baked cornbread in a bundt pan. If you’d like to give it a try, please visit Brooklyn Homemaker for the full recipe.