Fourth of July Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake


I grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs where we always joined in the Fourth of July celebration around the monuments -sometimes all day- ending with amazing fireworks, of course. I have the fondest memories! Such a great holiday. πŸ™‚ This year, we kayaked with friends and then watched our kids play in the pool while we relaxed. In the evening, we watched fireworks at a friends’ home with a great view over the Long Island Sound. Perfect.


I love to make a blueberry dessert for the Fourth of July. In the past, two of my favorites have been blueberry slab pie and blueberry buckle. When I saw this recipe I really wanted to make it- even though it seemed a little bit more like a breakfast cake than a dessert cake. It became more of a dessert because we ate it with vanilla ice cream! πŸ™‚ It would be a great snack cake as well.

The streusel is not the typical crumble, it is more granular, but it works. The center of this cake gives it the “butter” cake name. It’s more dense and moist- and buttery. But because of this, it was difficult to determine when it had finished baking. I increased the baking time by at LEAST 20 minutes from the original recipe– I checked this cake so many times that I lost track of the total baking time! I’m glad that eating it made it worth it.

I made two cakes- one for our daytime festivities and one for our evening festivities. The daytime cake was completely gone- which I will take as a compliment. πŸ™‚ The evening cake was brought to share- and was placed on quite a large spread. After the fireworks, my friend asked everyone to take home their leftover food. Her father stopped me and said that he wanted the leftover cake to eat with his coffee in the morning- he went and hid it inside! The BEST compliment. πŸ™‚ This recipe is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook by Deb Perelman.

Yield: 16 squares of cake

For the cake:
  • 8 T (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup (60  grams) cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
  • 2 cups (190 grams) blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
For the streusel:
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 6 T (45 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 T (15 grams) cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 T (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (or 4 T for more crumble)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment, then either butter and flour the bottom and sides, or coat them with a nonstick spray. (When doubling the recipe, I used an 8×8 glass pan and a 9×7 ceramic pan.)
  2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with sugar in large bowl until pale and fluffy, for at least 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions, then add the vanilla and zest.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture, all of sour cream, and another third of the flour, beating until just blended after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Mix the remaining third of the flour mixture with the blueberries. Fold the blueberry-flour mixture gently into the cake batter.
  6. Spread the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Use your original dry-ingredients bowl to combine the dry topping ingredients with a fork. Mash in the butter with your fork, fingertips, or a pastry blender. Scatter the topping over the batter.
  7. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and the tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35-55 minutes (in a convection oven). (Update: the cake baked for 35 minutes in a 9×9 metal pan on convection.) Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Run the spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it, then lift out onto a cooling rack.


About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

4 responses to “Fourth of July Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

  1. Nice:).. Have ever tried baking a cake with cornmeal. Have to try this. My kids love blueberry:)

  2. Pingback: Fourth of July Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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