Recipe Corner: Fresh Corn Butter Cake

In the May issue of the Village Voice, I acknowledged my interest in and some history about vegetables as desserts, with the recipe for Parsnip Cake. Below, you will find another of my favorite “vegetable dessert” recipes – Fresh Corn Butter Cake.

It would be difficult to find anyone who does not enjoy those tasty kernels on or off the cob. However, corn is not only considered a vegetable. But, when processed for popcorn or to make muffins, cereals and cakes like the one below, it is considered a grain. This cake uses corn in both its manifestations, so you might consider it worth making and eating since there are many possible health benefits attributed to this vegetable/grain. It is rich in antioxidants, said to improve blood pressure and good for your eyes, among other things.

The original recipe was thanks to a super-talented cook, writer and teacher, Richard Sax, with whom I worked back in the 1980’s. Richard passed away prematurely, and his death was a loss for the culinary world. His recipe originally called for a number of ears of corn to be cooked, scraped and pureed. I quickly found that four cups or a one-pound bag (if you can find it) of frozen corn kernels gives exactly the one cup of pureed corn needed and takes the guesswork out of how many ears to cook.

With Thanksgiving in sight, and according to a number of historians, one of the foods served at the first dinners was corn, either on the cob or as some form of grain. Here is a delicious dessert using corn in both forms (vegetable/grain) to add to the holiday meal.

  • 4 cups or 1 pound frozen corn kernels (for 1 cup puree)
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow corn meal
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Cook the corn according to package directions. Drain well, and cool to room temperature.  Transfer the corn to a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender, and puree until smooth. Press the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve. Discard the skins. You will have the one cup puree you need.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-cup fluted ring mold. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Transfer to a piece of wax paper.

In the same bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the corn puree, by thirds, beating on low speed until well mixed but not over mixed. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the top before serving. The cake can be made several days ahead, wrapped well and refrigerated. Makes 12 servings.

Resident Suzanne Jones is the author of “Readable, Doable and Delicious: Requested Recipes and Stories from the Past to the Present”. For a number of years, Suzanne wrote a weekly column in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel titled “You Asked For It”. For more information about her book, visit (www.past-presentrecipes.com).

Recipe Corner: Stuffing Bread

To further the holiday spirit, several years ago I developed this Stuffing Bread, which has in it many of the ingredients found in a good basic stuffing such as onions, celery seed, sage, dried rosemary and corn meal.

Dried and cubed and sautéed in butter, it makes a quick and flavorful dressing. Sliced, it is the ideal vehicle for leftover turkey or chicken sandwiches. Toasted, it is equally good with breakfast eggs, soup or any salad. And grilled cheese sandwiches are delectable.

When you bake this savory bread, you (and nearby neighbors) could swear the holiday turkey was being prepared. The aroma emanating from your oven is downright irresistible.

Though the original recipe was developed for the food processor while I was Food Editor at Cuisinart, I also have included a “by hand” version.

Food Processor Version:

  • 1 package dry yeast (¼ ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water (105- 115 degrees)
  • 1 small onion (no larger than 2 ounces), peeled and quartered
  • 2½-2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup ice water

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water, and let stand about 10 minutes until foamy.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, coarse-chop the onion. Add 2½ cups flour, cornmeal, butter and seasonings, and process for 20 seconds. Add the yeast mixture and egg.

With the machine running, pour the ice water through the feed tube in a steady stream as fast as the flour absorbs it. When dough forms a ball, check consistency, it should be slightly sticky. If too wet, process in the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time. Run machine for 45-60 seconds to knead. With floured hands, remove dough and shape into a ball. Place in a lightly floured one-gallon plastic storage bag and seal with a wire twist.  Let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. Remove the twist and punch down the dough in the bag.  Shape into a loaf and put into a greased 8 by 4 by 2½-inch loaf pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaf in center of the oven for about 35 minutes or until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove loaf from pan and cool loaf on its side on a wire rack. Makes one 1½ pound loaf – about 16 slices.

By Hand Version:

Dissolve yeast as above in a two-cup measure, using ¾ cup warm water. Medium-chop the onion. Melt and cool the butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, using 2½ cups of the flour. Transfer to a piece of wax paper. In the same bowl, whisk the onion, butter and egg together. Stir in the yeast mixture. Stir in half the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir well. The mixture will be sticky.

Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour (or more) to arrive at a soft, but not sticky dough. Knead for about eight minutes. Follow the directions above for finishing the loaf.

Resident Suzanne Jones is the author of “Readable, Doable and Delicious: Requested Recipes and Stories from the Past to the Present”. For a number of years, Suzanne wrote a weekly column in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel titled “You Asked For It”. For more information about her book, visit (www.past-presentrecipes.com).

RAS Hosts Annual Meeting

Resident Auxiliary Services (RAS) is having its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, January 29, at 2 p.m. in our Auditorium. Come learn about this group of residents who love volunteering in various capacities at John Knox Village.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the funds that RAS has raised in 2012. Also learn how these dollars have been used to promote the health and well being of The Village.

Ever wondered how the Villagers Men’s Chorus can afford to purchase its music? Did you know that RAS donated an extra $15,000 toward the Employee Holiday Gift Fund? Have you visited the beautiful new library in Cassels Tower and seen the state-of-the-art shelving?

Our Fitness Center has been furnished with up-to-date equipment in the last few years. Do you wonder where the thousands of dollars came from to accomplish this feat?

These are just a portion of the things made possible by the hard work of RAS volunteers who assist in the various activities, including the Pompano Green Market, Curiosity Shop and Furniture Warehouse.

In addition at the upcoming meeting, RAS will be electing and installing its new officers for 2013, and of course, there will be refreshments.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

  • Submitted by current RAS President Marcia Ellington