This week’s podcast highlights the power of food as a unifier. Our podcast guest is star chef and baker Zoe Nathan, who runs some of L.A.’s most famous eateries with her husband Josh Loeb: Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Milo + Olive, Sweet Rose Creamery, Cassia, Esters Wine Shop & Bar, Tallula’s. On this week’s episode, she explains how she cooks for family at all of these restaurants. Zoe shares the power of the perfect chocolate chip cookie and even gives us insight into Rustic Canyon Restaurant Group’s two latest spots — Milo SRO (which just opened April 25th) and Birdie G’s (opening soon)!
Blueberry Cornmeal Cake
*Recipe excerpted from Huckleberry Cookbook
This is our signature cake at Huckleberry. I actually made this cake with vanilla-corn ice cream for Josh when I was trying out for the pastry chef position at Rustic Canyon. This recipe was a favorite then and still is after all these years.
You can really play with the fruit on this cake. Instead of blueberries, try fresh huckleberries or thinly sliced strawberries sprinkled with brown sugar instead of white. Or, during the holidays, add the zest of one orange and top with fresh cranberries and both brown and white sugar. And, while I’m giving you all my secrets, these are also killer as muffins.
Makes one 10-in/25cm cake
- ¾ cup + 1 ½ tbsp/195g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- ¾ cup + 3 tbsp/190 g sugar, plus 2 tbsp
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 ½ tbsp canola oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups/200 g all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup/120 g cornmeal
- 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp/270 ml whole plain yogurt
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp/130 g ricotta
- 1 cup/150 g fresh blueberries
- Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line and grease a 10-in/25-cm round cake page (see above).
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, ¾ cup + 3 tbsp/190 g sugar, and salt on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
- With the mixer on low speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not overmix!
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, top with the blueberries, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan.
- Place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate.
This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room departure, for up to 2 days.
** Photo Credit: The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Matt Armendariz, and Emily Hart Roth
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