Strawberry Cornmeal Cake (Strawberry Cornbread)
Strawberry Cornmeal Cake features fresh lemon flavor, sweetness and texture from cornmeal, and a top layer of ripe strawberries. Strawberry Cornbread has just the right sweetness, so it’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, and dessert! Vegetarian.
If you’re looking for a delicious and easy cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, or weekend brunches, try this Strawberry Cornmeal Cake!
Strawberry Cornbread is a sweet, cakey cornbread that can be served solo, with powdered sugar and fruit, next to yogurt or ice cream, or with coffee and tea.
This recipe is great because it requires no mixer, is made with simple ingredients, and lets the flavor of the fruit shine–plus, it looks pretty!
Fresh strawberries – you’ll need 8 ounces or about 1.5 cups after cutting them into halves/quarters.
All purpose flour
Self rising cornmeal – we use finely ground white cornmeal, but medium grinds work well if you want more texture. Yellow cornmeal can be used and will add a little more color to the cake.
Granulated sugar – this cake has enough sugar to be a cake, but it’s not too sweet thanks to the acidic ingredients.
Melted butter – one stick of unsalted butter adds richness and flavor. Real butter (not margarine or substitutes) is recommended.
Sour cream – provides texture, adds acid, and gives the cake a light crumb.
Milk – adds moisture
Vanilla – adds some sweetness
One medium lemon – lemon zest and juice give this cake a bright lemon flavor
2 eggs, beaten – eggs give color, structure, and stability to the cake
Granulated sugar, for topping – adding 2 Tablespoons of sugar to the top of the cake gives a nice crust and helps the berries stay bright.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan and dust lightly with powdered sugar to coat. Set aside.
- Wash, stem, and cut the berries. Slice larger berries into quarters, and cut some into halves.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the wet ingredients: sugar, melted butter, sour cream, milk, vanilla, and the zest and juice of one lemon. Photos 1 through 3 above.
- Whisk in the beaten eggs until mixture is smooth. Photo 4.
- Beating the eggs separately before mixing them in keeps this an easy, mixer-free cake.
- Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined into a thick batter. Photo 5.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading gently to level. I prefer to switch to a spatula to finish combining and spreading the batter. Photos 6 and 7.
- Working from the middle and moving outward, lay the strawberries onto the batter to cover the top. Gently press about half of the berries into the cake batter (the cake will bake up around them and they will be better distributed). Leave the remaining half just sitting on top of the cake. Photo 8.
- Bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cake stand in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove to slice and serve.
- to make cake removal easier: run a small spatula or knife around the edges, cover the cake pan with a cooling rack and turn cake out (it will be face down). Quickly place a second cooling rack or cake plate/serving tray on the cake and return cake upright, so the berries are on top.
- Try to keep the cake upside down as little as possible
FAQs and Substitutions:
What can I use instead of self rising cornmeal?
To make this recipe with regular cornmeal, use 3/4 cup plain cornmeal, add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the dry mixture, and increase baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon total.
Is this a cake or more like traditional cornbread?
Because of the flour and the sweetness, this is definitely a cake. It’s meant to be enjoyed as a sweet breakfast or brunch pastry or dessert, instead of with a savory meal like chili beans.
Cornmeal gives this cake some depth, adds texture, and keeps the cake from being too sweet or rich.
What size pan should I use to make this cake?
I used a 9 inch cake pan, but an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet would work, too. For the best crust, avoid using glass to bake this recipe.
How to Store Strawberry Cornbread:
Store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days. The cake can be refrigerated for an extra day or two, but the fresh strawberries are best within 2 days.
To store longer: freeze individual slices up to 1 month by tightly wrapping and freezing in an airtight container. Let sit at room temperature to thaw and serve.
Serve strawberry cornmeal cake for breakfast, brunch, afternoon coffee or tea, or dessert. Try these ideas:
- dust with powdered sugar for a simple and pretty presentation
- serve alongside fresh berries and/or whipped cream
- pair with yogurt as a breakfast cake
- drizzle with honey
- top with crème fraiche for a less-sweet option
- serve warm with vanilla or strawberry ice cream
Strawberry Cornbread Cake
- 9 inch round cake pan
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries = 1.5 cups after slicing
- powdered sugar, for dusting pan
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup self rising cornmeal see below for substitution
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick butter, melted = 8 tablespoons before melting
- 1/3 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 medium lemon to be zested and juiced
- 2 large eggs, beaten at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Grease or spray a 9 inch round cake pan and dust with powdered sugar.
- Wash and cap the strawberries. Cut half of the strawberries into halves, and quarter the remaining berries. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Make the cake:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, sour cream, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Zest the lemon into the bowl and stir in all of the juice.
- Stir in the beaten eggs until incorporated.
- Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients just until combined. Batter will be thick.
- Pour the batter into the pan and gently spread to level.
- Top with the strawberries, pressing half of them into the batter and leaving half floating on top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Serving and Storage:
- Let cake stand in the pan for 15 minutes, then guide a spatula or small knife around the edges to remove. Tip out then immediately turn right side up so the berries are on top again. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store cooled leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- beat the eggs in a separate dish before adding to the wet ingredients so they can be fully combined into the mixture.
- Cake baking time will depend on the type of pan and the oven used. Begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes. The top should be crusty and and toothpick in the center should come out clean. Edges will be browned.
- For the self rising cornmeal: use 3/4 cup plain cornmeal, add 2 teaspoons baking powder, and increase baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon total.
- serve dusted with powdered sugar, with extra berries and whipped cream, crème fraiche, fruit sauce, honey, or with ice cream