I've had my fair share of kitchen fails lately.
It started a little over a week ago with raspberry muffins sprinkled with lemon sugar: the taste was delightful, the appearance was dreadful. Two days later I attempted peanut butter cookies topped with peanut brittle: once again, ugly mess. Four days later, I tried again. This time chocolate/red velvet marble cake. Trash. I was starting to get tired of wasting my butter and eggs.
But this morning my creativity struck again. I apprehensively made my way into the kitchen and started pulling ingredients. I had just enough butter left. I felt good about this one. I took my time. I lined up my flour and cornmeal and sugar and began whipping egg whites. I snuck a few bites of batter and let the oven do its thing. At last, I had success. Not only did this cake fill the entire house with an amazing maple aroma, it came out tender and soft and sweet. I've still got it.
Cornmeal Pound Cake with Maple Honey Glaze
Makes one 6-cup bundt cake (double recipe for 10-inch bundt or tube pan)
for the cornmeal pound cake:
1/2 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1 cup sugar, divided
3 large egg whites
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 6-cup bundt pan generously with cooking spray, using a brush to get in the cracks; sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon cornmeal.
In bowl of mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer egg white mixture to small bowl.
Rinse out mixing bowl. Use paddle to beat butter and remaining sugar (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Add flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda to sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Gently fold in egg white mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes (this will take more like 50 minutes if you double the batch and bake in a larger pan), or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. During last five minutes of baking, prepare the glaze.
for the maple honey glaze:
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
Combine the glaze ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Once cake is removed from the oven, poke holes into the bottom of the cake. Gently spoon glaze over warm cake. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan to cool completely.
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, October 2002.