There’s nothing like the first holiday weekend of the summer to inspire me to make a treat to feed a crowd. My requirements are that it must be easy to bake and portable because it has to be able to survive the journey to a friend’s place for a barbecue. Even if you’re entertaining at home, you can’t go wrong with a reliable dessert. Sheet cake ticks all the boxes, and I’m a big fan of mixed berry cornmeal cake.
I can’t resist a red, white and blue decorated dessert. Even though I love lining things up, a flag cake, while fun and festive, seems like too much effort. After finishing mixing the batter and spreading it into the pan, I sprinkled a messy mix of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries on top along with a little granulated sugar. I sliced the cake into squares and gave each one a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.
Mixed Berry Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes one 13-inch by 9-inch cake
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter plus more for pan
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
18 ounces mixed fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
Confectioners’ sugar for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan with butter, line with parchment and butter again.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed in a large bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions until just combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle with the berries and the remaining sugar on top. Bake the cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.