Monday, July 26, 2010

The Sweetness of Corn

Summer can be a fickle thing for us gardeners. On one hand, it's full of days with humid temperatures in the high 30's where the thought of going out into the sun is more anathema than bliss. On the other, there are unbearable periods of nothing but cold, dreary rain that turn fields to mud and prevent any sort of weeding, harvesting or pruning. There are precious few days that are perfect for growing are pounced on, allowing us to get some good, honest dirt under our nails and produce fresh, delicious goodies in our own backyard.

Even when the sun is scorching, beating down on us gardeners and farmers, there is the comfort in knowing that all the heat is working to enhance the sweetness of those tomatoes, bringing those beans to bear and - possibly one of the best gifts of Summer sun - caramelizing the kernels of corn growing in the local fields. There's nothing sweeter (literally) than biting into a fresh cob of locally grown and harvested corn - if you're lucky a super-delicious variety like 'Honey & Cream', 'Lancelot' or (my personal favourite) 'Silver Queen'. Good, fresh corn will get even the sweatiest cooks into the kitchen, boiling water for their score, and even though snacking on an ice cream cone would be a more logical idea I can't say I'm alone in craving a hot, roasted ear when I'm at the CNE at the end of August.

And as if the fresh sugary kernels weren't awesome enough on their own - or perhaps if in a moment of desperation you turn to frozen, canned or *gasp* out of season grocery store fare, there is always cake.

Yes, corn cake, not bread. There is nothing bready about this tasty, buttermilk and vanilla round, except perhaps the single cup of all-purpose flour to bind the works together. The last dregs of a bag of frozen corn discovered in our basement's chest freezer - admittedly not the tastiest kernels of the year, but passable, formed one leg of a corn "tripod", bolstered on either side by cornmeal and corn oil. Semolina flour - the addition that first drew me to Jude's recipe on Apple Pie, Patis & Pate - brings a new texture to the fold as well, and adds a brilliant yellow colour! The result is nicely sweet without being - pardon the expression - candy-corn like, and a unique offering on the dessert table at a BBQ or served with fresh berries and whipped cream to crown off a delicious Summer meal.

But you will have to sacrifice some corn for this. So pick some that you don't particularly adore straight off the cob, dust off the can opener or peer into your freezer's depths. You might be surprised!

Semolina Corn Cake
Serves 14
1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
1 cup + 3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
6 tbsp corn oil
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup corn
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F, grease a 9" springform pan.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine cornmeal and buttermilk, stirring.
  3. Microwave on HI for 30 seconds, stir and allow to sit 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla, eggs and oil.
  4. In another bowl combine semolina flour, regular flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir into the cornmeal mixture until just blended, then fold in the corn.
  5. Bake 35 minutes, until tests done.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 208.2
Total Fat: 7.6 g
Cholesterol: 31.2 mg
Sodium: 35.8 mg
Total Carbs: 30.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 4.9 g


  1. I have never been more hungry for corn. You should send this post to the corn council (if there is one.) :-)

  2. I love corn! And, I think I would REALLY love corn in this form!! YUM!


Thanks for the feedback!