Let’s just get this out of the way up front: this cornbread is not what you’d serve alongside ribs, chili, or fried chicken. It could very well be what you’d serve afterward, though, because this strawberry peach upside-down cornbread cake—whew, what a mouthful, huh?—belongs solidly in the dessert category. Or possibly brunch. In my mind, there’s only a fine line between dessert and brunch: if it doesn’t have frosting, it’s fair game at any time of day (and sometimes even if it does!).
At first, I was going to call this a “strawberry peach cornmeal upside-down cake,” but then I was afraid that might be a tad misleading. You see, this cake is literally a cornbread recipe combined with an upside-down cake topping (fruit/butter/sugar). Have you ever tried Trader Joe’s cornbread mix? That’s where I originally got this idea—that stuff is so good, I’ve actually eaten it for dessert. So while this cornbread cake is definitely more dessert-y than side dish-y, it also has a wonderfully rustic feel: just a touch of sweetness, a subtle coarseness, and a lightness that is perfect for disgustingly humid balmy summer evenings.
A note about timing: while this cake still tastes great after a day or two, it looks best on day one, so if you are making this for company, I recommend making it the same day you’ll be serving it. I baked mine in the evening and took pictures the next day, and its appearance had already changed somewhat overnight.
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 cups chopped strawberries and peaches
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (or butter, if you prefer), melted and cooled
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the 3 tablespoons of margarine for the topping in a 9-inch round pan (preferably with 3-inch sides) and heat in the oven until melted, about 3 minutes. After removing the pan from the oven, coat the sides with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over the melted margarine, and arrange the fruit on top in a single layer (as much as possible).
- In a bowl or glass, combine the almond milk, almond milk yogurt, and lemon juice, and stir together with a fork until smooth. Let the mixture sit at least 5 minutes before incorporating it into the other ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the maple sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth, and then stir in the almond milk mixture. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Once combined, add the melted margarine and fold until incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan on top of the fruit and smooth the top until level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and flipping onto a plate.
- I use 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup peaches, but feel free to use whatever ratio you prefer.
- If you are not concerned with keeping this cake dairy-free, you may replace the almond milk, almond milk yogurt, and lemon juice with 3/4 cup buttermilk.