I remember vividly the feeling of pure freedom I felt on the last day of school each June. In my memory, that day was always sunny and warm and we’d have a lunch-time picnic on the deck or may be head straight to the beach, the brook or my cousins’ pool.
Long summer days make me think of baking with summer fruit. This very old recipe has become a new favourite. It’s from an old cookbook of my grandmother’s, the 1932 edition of The Guide to Good Cooking, published by Five Roses Flour.
This is a cake that can travel from breakfast to dessert. It’s moist, flavourful and not too sweet. Serve it with baked rhubarb, sweetened yogurt or whipped cream.
Summer Fruit Cornbread (Johnny Cake)
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup cornmeal (fine or medium)
- 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 tsp. salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp. fancy molasses
- 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- ¾ cup cold milk
- 1 egg white
- About 3/4 cup berries or chopped summer fruit.
- Preheat oven to 375 F and line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and gradually add the sugar. Beat in the egg yolk then the molasses and honey or maple syrup.
- Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk (beginning and ending with the flour mixture.)
- Stir in the fruit.
- Beat the egg white to stiff peaks and fold into the batter.
- Scrape into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and the top springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm or room temperature.