Happy mornings are made of a golden, Gluten-Free Vegan Skillet Cornbread Cake with fresh berries baked in.
Sunday mornings are not usually a good time to bake leisurely breakfasts at our home. There are errands to run, calls to be made to family overseas, people to catch up with and chores to catch up to.
But when the promise of sweet vanilla is in the air, combined with the flap-flap of a pretty, yellow cornmeal batter in the stand mixer bowl and the jewel hues of fresh berries waiting to be scattered over the top of a crust that’ll bake into pure gold… who would not want to make the time?
While this cake makes the perfect dessert, if my mom were here, I’d bake it for her for breakfast or brunch this Mother’s Day. The cake is sweetly beautiful and meltingly tender. It truly dissolves in your mouth, and makes you wonder what — or who? — turned you into such a fine cook.
The cake recipe can be a blank canvas for your wildest culinary imaginings. You can top it with berries, as I did, or use another fruit — pears or apples would be great. Slice ’em and then layer ’em on top of the batter in a decorative pattern. You could also make this a citrusy skillet cornbread cake by adding a tablespoon of orange zest and replacing the nondairy milk with orange juice.
My favorite thing about this cake, besides the deliciousness, is that it is not impossibly, cloyingly sweet. It’s just perfectly so, and with the wholegrain corn and the gluten-free flour and fruit, you have a recipe you can even pass off as healthy. Ish.
The three of us polished off the whole thing within minutes. After washing the skillet I was heating it on the stove before putting it away, and a mild fragrance of vanilla wafted up from the cast iron and floated around the kitchen, making me wish I had more.
Gluten Free Vegan Skillet Cornbread Cake
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I use the one linked here)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup nondairy milk (I used almond, but any is fine)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp vegan butter (at room temperature)
- 6 tbsp apple sauce
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup turbinado sugar (coconut sugar or cane sugar would work too)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh berries. Slice strawberries, leave raspberries or blueberries whole
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a bowl, mix the cornmeal, gf flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Mix the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a couple of minutes.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, butter and applesauce until well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and mix in.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the pan to make sure everything is mixed in.
- Butter or spray with cooking spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth down the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle on as many berries as you wish, leaving the rest to serve alongside the cake.
- Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs adhering to it.
- Cool on a rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.