By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely This recipe is adapted from Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts. Pat Tillinghast, who with her husband, Bruce, was chef/owner of Two Rivers restaurant in Providence, originated it. Honey gives the cake an amber color and depth of flavor, also helps it keep well. Serve it with fruit or on its own with a dab of cream.
Serves 10 or more.
Ingredients 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal, sifted (whole-germ if possible) 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a few grains for the egg whites 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup honey 4 large eggs, separated 1/4 cup plain yogurt Grated zest of 1 large lemon 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Directions Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit. Butter the pan and the paper on both sides. Scatter the bottom and sides with about a tablespoon of cornmeal, to help the cake rise, tapping out any excess. Sift the remaining cornmeal with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter well with a big spoon. Gradually add the honey and beat until very light. Separate the eggs, one at a time stirring the yolks into the butter mixture; set the whites aside in a medium-size bowl. Stir the yogurt, lemon zest, and juice into the butter-honey-yolk mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients a little at a time; blend well but do not over mix.
Beat the egg whites with a few grains of salt until they hold peaks. Quickly fold them into the batter and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, turning once halfway, until the cake turns golden and springs back when pressed lightly, about 45 minutes (check at 40).
Cool the cake on a rack. Loosen the circumference from the inside of the pan and remove the ring. Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the paper liner, and turn again onto a serving plate. Cut the cake into wedges to serve with fruit or ice cream if desired.