How many eggs must be sacrificed in order to obtain 3 clean egg whites worthy of whipping into stiff peaks? In my case, the answer is 10. 10 whole eggs were sacrificed to the baking Gods before I could get this cake process started.
But I digress.
When I first started on this baking + blogging project, I knew I would need the right tools. I already had a stand mixer, but but that was about the extent of my baking accessories. So off I went to buy cake tins, springform pans and cookie sheets. I also bought a recipe book. Now, I am not a regular collector of recipe books, preferring to get my inspiration from the internet, but I thought that following instructions would be easier if they were laid out for me in a nice, tidy order with abundant explanations and a plan to work my way up to the complicated stuff. So a book was bought. Specifically, this book, Food52‘s Bake.
Armed with my arsenal of tools, a clean oven and a brand new book, I figured I would initially bake something simple (maybe a 3 ingredient snack bar?). But if you know me, you know things rarely go according to plan, especially when the start of my baking adventure coincides with Canadian Thanksgiving, and the family that has so kindly agreed to feed me requires a gluten free bake.
Fortunately, the Bake book had one gluten-free recipe that looked like it would work for the occasion. Unfortunately, it was in “Special Occasion Cakes” section, at the end of the book. Go big or go home right? And so off I set, ready to create my very first cake, using techniques I had never before mastered. Which leads me back to my egg separation issues. Between not reading the whole recipe through before starting (always read the recipe in full people! Have I learned nothing from countless episodes of The Great British Bake-Off?), countless broken yolks, and a mixer bowl that was not completely dry, it took me 10 eggs to whip the requisite 3 egg whites into stiff peaks. But once I did, my, what stiff peaks they were!
Below is the recipe for my first successful, and gluten-free bake. It came out of the oven looking much prettier than I expected, and between the blackberries and peaches, it tasted of Fall. And who doesn’t like the taste of Fall?
Gluten-Free Lemon Blackberry Corn Cake ( Recipe from Food52, adaptated slightly. )
3 eggs separated
1/2 tsp kosher salt (split into 1/4 tsps measurements)
1 cup granulated sugar (split into 1/2 cups measurements)
1 1/2 cups fine ground cornmeal (I used Bulk Barn’s generic cornmeal, which worked fine)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 punnets blackberries
1 medium-ripe peach
2 TBSP cane sugar
Maple syrup (to taste)
Vanilla extract (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350F (175 C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (I traced around the paper with the pan and cut it out to ensure it fit). Butter the parchment paper and wrap the bottom of the pan in tinfoil to prevent leaking. Slice the peach into medium-thin sections- you want them to retain some bite but be thin enough to cook through.
- Separate the egg whites and pour them into a clean, dry bowl with 1/4 tsp of salt. Using the whip attachment of your stand mixer, an electric whisk, or whisking vigorously by hand, whip until until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal, tapioca flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp of salt.
- Using an electric mixer, or creaming vigorously by hand, beat the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and continue to beat until light and lemon colored. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add the cornmeal mixture and milk to the butter in several alternating additions, blending until thoroughly combined after each addition. Gently fold in the egg whites until completely incorporated, with as few white blobs as possible.
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices in the batter so they are evenly distributed, and scatter in approx. 1 punnet worth of blackberries between the slices. Top with the remaining batter, and scatter another punnet of blueberries on top. At this stage, you may have some berries leftover- these are your snack. Finally, sprinkle the cane sugar over the top of everything.
- Bake for approximately 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. This took me longer than the allocated time – around 75 minutes, but start checking your bake after an hour. You want the cake cooked and the top nicely caramelized. Remove from the oven and put on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it completely then remove the outer ring. Resist the urge to move the cake now, wait for it to cool completely. Once it is cooled, slide a thin spatula between the cake and the base/parchment to loosen the cake and move to a serving dish.
- If serving with whipped cream, pour whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixture (or use an electric mixer) and add maple syrup and vanilla to taste. Whip until soft peaks form and serve with a slice of cake.
How did my first bake go? Well, if the gastronomical review of a 5 year who didn’t finish his Turkey dinner but licked his plate clean of cake isn’t a resounding two thumbs up, I don’t know what is!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first post. I am taking requests, so please leave comments or suggestions of other things you’d like to see me bake below.
PS: I wish I had watched the video before starting to unsuccessfully seperate my eggs! I feel like I need a refresher course!