Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Lemon Fondant

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“Recipe by Tom Douglas. The icing for this cake is not a classic fondant, but an almost transparent powdered sugar glaze flecked with rosemary leaves and lemon zest. The rosemary is blanched first, to remove some of its pungency. For a less dressy cake, you could omit the fondant. Simply brush the cake with the lemon syrup and serve with sliced fresh figs or small bunches of grapes.”
1hr 10mins
1 9inch cake

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line it with a circle of parchment paper, and butter the paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, rosemary, zest, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, briefly whisk the mascarpone to loosen it.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine.
  6. Add the sugar and whisk until smooth.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the wet ingredients, mixing until smooth.
  8. Stir in the butter.
  9. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup.
  11. Combine the lemon juice and the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
  12. Remove from the heat.
  13. Allow the cake pan to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before unmolding.
  14. To unmold, run a small knife around the cake.
  15. Place an inverted plate over the cake pan and, protecting your hands with a kitchen towel, invert the whole thing.
  16. The cake should slide right out onto the plate.
  17. Peel off the parchment paper, then place a 9-inch cardboard circle or an inverted plate over the cake and, again, invert the whole thing.
  18. Remove the top plate and the cake will be right side up.
  19. With a wooden skewer, poke a few dozen holes all over the top of the cake.
  20. While the cake is still warm, brush the cake with the lemon syrup.
  21. Continue brushing for several minutes, giving the syrup time to sink into the cake, until you've used all or most of the syrup.
  22. Allow the cake to cool.
  23. To make the lemon fondant, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.
  24. Add the rosemary leaves and blanch them for one minute.
  25. Scoop out the rosemary leaves with a small sieve and drop them immediately into a small bowl of ice water.
  26. Drain, and spread the rosemary leaves on a paper towel to dry.
  27. In a bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, cream, and lemon juice until smooth, then whisk in the blanched rosemary and the zest.
  28. When the cake is completely cool, transfer it to a rack set over a baking sheet.
  29. (If your cake is not on a cardboard circle, use a wide spatula to transfer it.) Pour the fondant over the top of the cake and allow it to drip off the sides.
  30. You can gently tilt the cardboard circle or the wire rack back and forth to encourage the glaze to completely flow over the top of the cake.
  31. While the glaze is still wet, transfer the cake to a cake plate.
  32. Allow the fondant to dry, an hour or more, before serving the cake.
  33. (If you allow the glaze to dry before you transfer it, the glaze may crack a bit, unless you are transferring it on a cardboard circle.) Because this cake is quite moist, you can make it one day ahead.
  34. After the cake is brushed with the syrup, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and leave it at room temperature.
  35. A few hours before you're ready to serve the cake, make the fondant and glaze the cake.

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