Here we are at the start of the holiday baking season. Yay, holiday baking!! It’s a week before Thanksgiving, what are we gonna do about dessert? Sure we could go traditional with a pie, pumpkin, sweet potato, or apple. But I think we should try something new this year. Now before you get upset and call me crazy, let’s compromise. Why don’t we make a new dessert using traditional fall flavors. Okay? This year let’s make sweet corn cake with a pear & cranberry compote. If you don’t want to try that then how about a sweet potato mousse? Both can be made in advance and hidden away in the fridge till you are ready to serve them. Okay the cake is a bit harder to hide, but you get my drift. So come on, let’s try something new.
Happy Holiday Baking!
Sweet corn cake is like cornbread’s cousin that grew up in New York. They are close enough for you to recognize that they are from the same family. But sweet corn cake is just a little bit fancier. You can turn this recipe into light and sweet corn muffins as well. Or bake them in smaller pans for an individual dessert. As a general rule I don’t layer and ice this cake. I prefer it topped with a warm fruit compote of some sort. Hence the pear & cranberry compote recipe after it.
Sweet Corn Cake
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar (if you want a sweeter cake use 1 1/4 cups)
2 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey
4 eggs beaten
2 1/2 cups milk or half and half
2 TBS vanilla
corn (optional) (I usually add fresh corn when I make this in late August, I love it with and without the corn)
Directions (SUPER EASY!!!!)
- In a large bowl stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl combine oil, butter, honey, eggs, milk and vanilla.
- Stir bowl of wet stuff into the bowl with dry stuff until just combined.
- Pour into 9x13 pan that you have sprayed with pan spray and bake for about 30-40 minutes (or until done) at 325
Now that you have that beautiful corn cake, let’s top it!
Pear Cranberry Compote
6 firm pears, peeled & chopped
1 cup water (may sub out half of the water for red wine)
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Juice and peel of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of cranberries
2 TBS of Grand Marnier (optional)
- Combine water, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon juice & peel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Add pears and cranberries, cover and cook until pears are tender. Baste pears with the syrup occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in Grand marnier.
- Can be served warm or cold
Sweet Potato Pie is one of my all time favorite pies. I love the creamy texture and the beautiful richness of the sweet potato filling. But again, this year I want to try something new so I am turning that amazing pie into a delightful mousse. Same creamy texture, same richness just no crust. Not only can this mousse be made in advance, you can pour it into a serving glass or bowl before it sets. Then all you have to do is grab and serve!
Sweet Potato Mousse
4 medium to large sweet potatoes peeled & cooked (I prefer to roast mine, but if you are pressed for time then boil them)
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS butter
1/2 TBS vanilla
1/4 ounce (1 packet) gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- In a bowl or blender combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, butter and vanilla.
- In a small pot or pan sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes
- Cook on low heat for a couple (about 2) minutes until gelatin is dissolved. Stir into sweet potato mixture.
- Whip cream till medium stiff peaks have formed.
- Fold cream into sweet potato mixture.
- Spoon into serving containers and chill for at least 2 hours
This delightful mousse can be topped with more whip cream, or pecans or graham crackers. It’s up to you!