Vanilla Cornmeal Crumb Cake with Candied Cherry Tomatoes.

This cake is pure insanity.

Which probably sounds ludicrous and like a load of bull because it looks… so… simple. But I swear! It’s special.

It’s like cornbread in cake form but with the thickest crumb topping that takes it over the top. This means I totally convinced Eddie to eat it by telling him it was “cornbread with a crumb topping” even though it was really cake because he quite possibly wouldn’t have eaten it if it was cake.

Turns out he ate the ENTIRE THING. He ate half of it the first night. He had a plate of stuffed peppers but was all “I only want to eat this for dinner.” The next night I was out and when I got home, there was the tiniest little sliver of cake left. Itty bitty.

P.S. he is going to be seriously annoyed right now when he learns this is cake and not “bread.”

But wait. Don’t let the tomatoes freak you out. They legit taste like CANDY. With just the teeniest hint of sweet tomato. But mostly… candy. You don’t NEED the tomatoes, but if you’re feeling adventurous they are super good. They work perfectly with the cornbread disguised as cake (I mean, I told you it would be all corn and tomatoes up in here) and even taste delicious with the whipped cream. If you want to do something crazy you can even add some flavor to your whipped cream (booze?) but I just added heavy cream to this homemade whipped cream dispenser thing that my brother bought me for Christmas a few years ago. It makes me feel like I’m working magic even though I’m doing absolutely nothing. Except eating.

I think the cherries would be perfect with regular cornbread too or even on top of chicken or steak, if you like the sweet and savory thing. I just adore these little guys and could not stop popping them. You could even candy them and shove them INSIDE the cake. Or bread. I realize they look a little funky but just try ‘em. So good.

If you want to forgo the tomatoes entirely and truly believe that I’ve lost every marble, this cake is like a yellow cake mashed with the fluffiest cornbread you can think of and some vanilla beans. Plus the crumble, which if we’re being honest, is the most important part of a cake like this. I’ll eat it all and won’t even feel bad about leaving you none.

The thing is, I have no idea if this is dessert… or breakfast… or brunch? Let’s say all three.

And lunch, because well I definitely did that accidentally on purpose.


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Vanilla Cornmeal Crumb Cake with Candied Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: serves about 6

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
whipped cream for serving

crumb topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

candied cherry tomatoes
2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla paste and extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined, then stir in the melted butter until combined. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and pour the batter in the pan.

To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter until combined. Whisk for a a good minute or two until the sugar begins to dissolve, then use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. The mixture will be crumb-like and dry. Almost like a sludge or paste. This is what you want! Sprinkle the crumb on top of the cake.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool before serving, then serve with the candied tomatoes and whipped cream.

candied cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and place the quartered tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the sugar on the tomatoes 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure to coat each tomato (and using more if necessary!). After coating I like to push them around a bit so they are almost sitting in a bed of sugar. Roast the tomatoes for 25 to 30 minutes (I do this while making the cake) then remove the pan and allow them to cool completely.

[cake adapted from bon appetit, crumb adapted from smitten]

just tryyyy it.