The best kind of comfort food is a little bit rustic, and this cake is a shining example of that. While the crumb is nowhere near dense, the cornmeal adds a one of a kind texture to this lovely little cake and brings it down to an unfussy, homey level. (And don’t think for a second that just because it’s homey it doesn’t taste amazing.)
The cake manages to remain light yet moist and there’s this subtle aroma of orange that runs throughout the whole thing that’s absolutely wonderful. We’ve topped it with an easy apricot glaze that adds some nice sticky-sweetness to the top. (And it seeps down and flavors the cake a bit too.) You just heat up some apricot preserves or jam and Grand Marnier on the stove while the cake is baking… and that’s it! You can use water instead of the Grand Marnier if you’d like, but Grand Marnier carries that orange flavor from the cake through to the topping as well, which is very much not a bad thing.
You can bake this in a bundt pan if you wanted, but we like the slice and serve option that a rectangular baking dish gives. It’s kind of like cornbread got all gussied up, and let us tell you… cornbread tastes pretty good transformed into a sweet little cake.
1 hour 15 minutes to prepare serves 8-10
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the glaze:
- 1 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or water
- Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at time, and then the vanilla, mixing until well blended.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately. Mix until smooth, and pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
- While cake bakes, make the glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the apricot jam and Grand Marnier (or water) over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Mixture should become more liquidy. Brush mixture onto top of cake. Serve, and enjoy!
Adapted from Liv Life.