Los Angeles has no shortage of delicious restaurants, but if there’s one place I frequent more than any other, it’s Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe. My mom loves it just as much as I do, and she regularly finds excuses to “visit me” so we can catch up over their savory breakfast dishes, flavorful sandwiches, and incredible pastries (seriously, some of the best ever). Fortunately, Huckleberry owner Zoe Nathan recently compiled all of her secrets into a cookbook, and I pre-ordered a copy for each of us so that we could recreate some of Zoe’s magic at home (I figured this should hold us over between visits). We got together last week to bake their signature Blueberry Cornmeal Cake, one of our personal favorites. I wasn’t sure it was possible to capture the flavors quite like Zoe does, but it was just as delicious as the original. Each bite delivers a perfect harmony of flavors, and the cornmeal base balances the sweetness you might find in traditional cake mix, so it’s the perfect complement to your morning coffee.
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 3 tbsp sugar, plus 1 tbsp for topping
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup + 2 tbsp whole plain yogurt
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp ricotta
1 cup fresh blueberries (*Add 1-1/3 cups if you prefer more blueberries)
1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line and grease a 10-in/25-cm round cake pan.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp sugar, and salt on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
3. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Don’t overmix!
4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, top with blueberries, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan.
5. Place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate.
*This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.