ChrisD and I went to an artisanal beef tasting dinner last night. It
was educational *and* filling. Needless to say, we learned a lot
about organic/natural beef. She will put pictures and details on her
blog once she's settled into her new place.

Anyway, our dessert was cornmeal cake. I've never had one before and
thought it was delicious! Today, Giada made one on her show. I saved
the recipe and decided to post it here too. The cake served last
night was plain and reminded me of upside down cake so I guess they
put a syrup on it. This one has cranberries, which dress it up for
the holidays.

Cranberry and Cornmeal Cake with Caramel-Walnut Topping Sauce
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008

6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 12 min Inactive Prep: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min Level: Intermediate


* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
* 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
* 1/2 cup yellow fine cornmeal
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 large oranges)
* 3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 4 large egg yolks
* 2 large eggs

* Caramel Walnut Sauce, recipe follows


Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder,
salt, and orange zest. Measure 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture
into a small bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and toss until coated.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter
and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, 1 at a
time. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just
incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with
a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester
inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40
minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and
transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into wedges,
arrange on a serving platter and serve with the Caramel Walnut Sauce.

(The cake can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in a plastic

Note from Food Network Kitchens: Due to your comments we have retested
and changed this recipe. It may not match exactly what the chef did
on the show.

Caramel-Walnut Sauce

* 2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
* 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, optional

For the Caramel-Walnut Topping Sauce: In a medium saucepan, mix
together the cream, brown sugar, and butter over medium-high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and
simmer until the mixture thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in
the walnuts and sea salt, if using. Allow the mixture to cool to room
temperature before serving.

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

I love cooking with wine.
Sometimes I even put it in the food.