The first week of spring here in the Smoky Mountains brought us a couple of snowy days, but now that the weather’s warming up, we’re all coming down with severe cases of spring fever. And one of the best cures we know of is cake! So for our last entry for March – which is also National Flour Month – we offer you our Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake. Lightened with ricotta cheese and brightened with fresh berries and lemon juice, the batter features not only our freshly ground cornmeal, but also Old Mill’s all-purpose Plain Flour. It makes a simple but stunning addition to an Easter buffet or any other spring or summer occasion. Come autumn, you can easily turn this versatile recipe into a holiday cake by substituting fresh cranberries for the blueberries, similar to our Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake we offer online. This cake also freezes well, so if you like to do all your baking at one time and give home-baked items to friends and family, this will be a hit!
Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Makes: 12 to 16 servings
Butter for prepping the pan
2 cups Old Mill Plain Flour
1 cup Old Mill Yellow Cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup Old Mill Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon (1 teaspoon)
Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)
1 container (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese, about 2 cups
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided use
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, and place the pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, 30 seconds. Add the sugar, and beat on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated, about 20 seconds each. Add the maple syrup, oil, and the grated lemon zest and juice. Blend on medium speed until well combined, 45 seconds.
- Turn about a third of the dry ingredients into the batter and blend on low until just incorporated. Add half of the ricotta cheese and blend. Add another third of dry ingredients and blend, then add the rest of the ricotta, and finally the rest of the dry ingredients, blending just to incorporate. Fold 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries into the batter, and blend on low speed to break up the berries a bit, about 30 seconds. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining cup of blueberries on top of the batter, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Place the baking sheet with springform pan in the oven.
- Bake until the cake is well browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes. After 1 hour, gently cover the top of the cake with foil to protect it from over-browning. Remove the cake from the oven, and let the cake cool in the pan 20 to 25 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and unfasten the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely before slicing, about 1 hour. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup Old Mill Plain Yellow Unbolted Cornmeal
3/4 cup Old Mill White Unbleached Plain Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
About 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round pan with 2-inch sides; line bottom with parchment.
Combine granulated sugar and almonds in a food processor; process until almonds are finely chopped. Add Old Mill Yellow Unbolted Cornmeal and process 5 seconds to blend. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in Old Mill Plain Unbleached Flour, baking powder, and salt.
Lightly beat eggs; whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into dry ingredients; fold in gently with a rubber spatula just to blend. (Do not stir.) Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze: mix confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth. Thin with additional lemon juice if mixture is too thick to drizzle and spread.
Remove cake from oven and loosen edge with a knife. Place a wire rack on top of cake in pan. Using oven mitts, hold pan and rack firmly together and invert cake onto rack. Remove pan and parchment. Place another rack on bottom of cake; invert again so that cake is top side up on rack. Stir glaze; drop by tablespoons onto cake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge. Let cool completely. Makes one 9-inch cake.
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 cup OLD MILL STONE-GROUND GRITS
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
OLD MILL CORN RELISH or OLD MILL SPICY ONION RELISH
3-4 slices bacon, cooked and torn
- Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Bring water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; whisk in salt and grits. Reduce heat and simmer, covered with a spatter shield, until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, green onion, and pepper. Spread evenly into prepared pan; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Loosen edges of grits with a knife and turn out onto a cutting board. Use a 1 3/4- to 2-inch round cutter to cut out grits rounds; brush the grits rounds on both sides generously with melted butter.
- Bake until crispy and browned on bottoms, about 20 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on the other sides. Place on a serving platter; top each with a teaspoon of Old Mill Corn Relish and a piece of bacon. Serve warm.
Grits cakes are crisp-fried with smoky, creamy flavor and stone-ground texture. Top them with fresh collards that are cooked with smoked bacon, our own sourwood honey, and apple cider vinegar. Serve for an all-vegetable dinner, or with ham.
Makes 4 servings
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup half-and-half, heavy cream, or milk
1 cup OLD MILL STONE GROUND GRITS
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 bunches collard greens, rinsed, stems and ribs removed
1 medium onion, diced
4 slices smoked bacon, sliced crosswise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup OLD MILL SOURWOOD HONEY
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot sauce and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Prepare grits: Bring water and half-and-half to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until thick and tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter, and pepper,
- Line a 9-inch square baking pan with a strip of parchment paper, extending up 2 sides of pan. Pour grits into pan. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Prepare collards: Stack leaves and slice. Cook onion and bacon in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture is browned evenly but not caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Add collards; stir and cook to slightly wilt. Add vinegar, honey, and salt; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the collards are just tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and season with hot sauce and additional salt, if desired. Keep warm.
- To fry grits, heat 2 inches oil in a large, heavy skillet to 350°. Cut grits into squares or circles with a biscuit cutter; dust with flour, and fry until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.
- Arrange fried grits on servings plates; spoon collards on top.