Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

When life gives you lemons, make an upside-down cake. Meyer lemons that have been baked in a bed of brown sugar and butter add just enough zest to this grainy, dense Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake.

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (173 grams) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 Meyer lemons, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 1 cup (185 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (93 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup (42 grams) semolina flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams) baking soda
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, and spray pan again.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and ¼ cup (58 grams) butter to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and pour into prepared pan. Place one lemon slice in center of pan in sugar mixture. Continue arranging lemon slices in overlapping concentric circles to fully cover sugar mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar, lemon zest, and remaining ½ cup (115 grams) butter with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornmeal, semolina flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Gently spread batter onto lemon slices in pan.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 2 hours. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto a serving platter, and serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.


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