Let's savor one last classic strawberry spring dessert before the heat of summer is firmly at the door. And let's do it with a moist, sweet cake that hints at the coming of one of summer's most famous pieces of produce: corn.
A serious dose of cornmeal combined with silky cake flour gives the final product a yielding, but earthy, texture that's a wonderful and substantial foil for juicy little berry bits and rich, fluffy whipped coconut cream. Et voila, a classic dessert gets a personality boost.
The berries are only gently marinated in a combination of bourbon and orange liqueur to tease out sweetness and subtle depth. If you prefer a dessert without alcohol, a little balsamic vinegar, or even just a sprinkle of sugar can be substituted.
Sweet Cornmeal Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Whipped Coconut Cream
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup cake flour (spoon-in-and-level-off method of measurement)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/8 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
8-10 medium-large strawberries, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp bourbon
1 tsp orange liqueur
chilled coconut cream skimmed from one 15-oz can coconut milk
1 TBSP maple syrup (or powdered sugar)
Heat oven to 350.
In a large jar or bowl, combine soy milk and vinegar. Set aside.
Meanwhile, oil and flour a six-inch cake pan and set aside. Whisk together flours, salt, baking power, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
Add sugar, oil, and extracts to soy milk. Whisk thoroughly. Add to dry ingredients. Whisk just until all dry mix has been incorporated (aim for a dozen strokes or fewer). The batter will be lumpy. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 24-26 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let cool 10 minutes. Use a thin spatula to gently ease the sides of the cake away from the sides of the pan. Turn cake out onto rack, gently turn back over onto its bottom, and let cool.
Half an hour before serving, combine sliced strawberries with bourbon and orange liqueur. Let sit, covered with a clean kitchen towel, stirring every ten minutes, until ready to serve.
Just before serving, whip chilled cream with syrup or sugar. Spoon berries over a cake slice and top with whipped coconut cream.