Summer’s Harvest: Maple-Sweet Corn-Polenta Cake

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Is this cornbread or is this cake?  It’s so dense and moist and gently sweetened with maple syrup that I’m calling it a cake. In any case, it’s such a simple recipe that it’s success depends largely on the quality of the corn you use. Use fresh corn if you possibly can. Shuck it and steam for five or six minutes, then cut the kernels off the cob. Although this recipe is loosely based on one which calls for buttermilk,  I use rice or soy milk and rice vinegar to replace the buttermilk. However, if buttermilk works for you, be my guest.  Serve with fresh fruit, a whipped topping, or the simple maple-cinnamon glaze I suggest below.

MAPLE-SWEET CORN-POLENTA CAKE

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup polenta

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 3/4 cups corn kernels (three medium cobs)

3/4 cup plain rice or soy milk acidulated with 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil, or similar oil

Measure out the rice or soy milk and add the rice vinegar, allow to sit for five minutes. Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring well. Measure the final four ingredients into a blender bowl and blend just enough to mix everything well, but not so much as to completely purée the corn (you want some texture). Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well.  Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 9 X 9-inch cake pan and bake in a 350º F oven 30 minutes or until it tests done when a toothpick is inserted. ( 9-12 servings)

MAPLE-CINNAMON GLAZE: Combine 4 teaspoons maple syrup with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Warm. Apply evenly on the top of the cake with a pastry brush.

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