Serves: Makes 8 servings
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing the pan
- 1½ cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ²/³ cup yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup fine semolina
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ²/³ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 pints mixed juicy berries (such as boysenberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy, or to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Procedures:Traditional biscuit-based shortcake tastes best when the biscuits are hot from the oven, making it a last-minute dessert. With this golden cornmeal loaf, you can bake the cake hours ahead, then slice and toast it just before serving. With cool, juicy berries spooned over it and a dollop of soft-whipped cream, the cake may well become your go-to summer dessert. - From Janet Fletcher’s Eating Local.
- To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. Coat the bottom and sides with flour and shake out the excess.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl. Whisk in the cornmeal, semolina, and salt until well blended.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly until the mixture is pale and light and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the almond extract.
- On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Add the buttermilk and beat just until blended, then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
- Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. A cake tester inserted in the middle should come out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack. Invert again so the top is up and finish cooling on the rack.
- In a bowl, combine the berries, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the brandy. Stir gently with a rubber spatula. Let macerate at room temperature for 1 hour to dissolve the sugar and draw out the fruit juices, stirring occasionally.
- In a bowl, whisk together the cream, the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the ends off the cake, then cut the cake into 8 equal slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until hot throughout and slightly crusty, about 5 minutes. Transfer the slices to individual dessert plates. Spoon some of the macerated berries and their juices over the cake. Top each serving with a dollop of the cream. Serve immediately.