Almond Cornmeal Cake with Peach and Raspberry Compote

This is a very delicious and impressive dessert, and it is not all that difficult to make. It has three parts, the cake, the fruit compote and a marcapone and creme fraiche topping. None of the three are hard to make, but when you put them together they are spectacular. Other than the cake, it is also easy to change out ingredients to put your own stamp on this dish.

The cake:

* 1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
* 1/2 cup of flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 stick of softened unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup toasted almonds
* 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*  juice of one lemon
* zest of one lemon
* 5 egg yolks
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 2 tbls marscapone cheese

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder together and set aside. Put your toasted almonds in a food processor and grind into a mealy flower. Add the softened butter and process until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice and pulse to combine. Add the sour cream and cheese, pulse a few times. Add the sugar in 4 stages, processing until smooth each time. While the processor is running add the eggs one at a time, waiting about 30 seconds between each egg.

If your food processor is large enough you can add the dry ingredients in thirds and pulse until the batter is smooth. Otherwise, mix in a separate bowl. Pour into a greased and floured round cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. The cake should pull away from the sides when done. When cool, remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar.

The compote:

5 peaches, blanched, skinned and cut into slices
2 cups of raspberries
1 1/2 cup of white wine, something unoaked and fruity works best
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbls good balsamic vinegar

Add all of the ingredients except for the fruit to a large saucepan and simmer to reduce by 1/4. Add the peaches and simmer for 2 minutes (add a minute or 2 if the fruit isn’t fully ripe). Remove from the heat and stir in the berries. After a minute, strain the fruit from the juice. Refrigerate the fruit and add the sauce back to the pan and reduce by a little more than half so that the sauce because slightly thickened. After if cools, add to the fruit and return to the refrigerator.

The topping:

3/4 cup room temperature Marscapone cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
The juice of one lemon
Pinch of ground ginger
2 tbls honey

Mix it up and refrigerate.

To serve, cut the cake into 8 wedges, plate, spoon on some of the sauce and the fruit, finish with a generous dollop of the topping, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and then sit back and listen for the moans of pleasure from your lucky dinner guests.

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