Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Blackberry Peach Skillet Cornmeal Cake

Cornmeal and summer fruit provide a lovely texture to this moist blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. Top with brown butter icing for the ultimate treat! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bringing you a DIFFERENT sort of cake today. One I never expected to like, but one I’m pleasantly surprised to have fallen in love with.

Fruit-filled and supremely moist, this cornmeal cake is unlike any cake I’ve ever baked before. The texture will completely steal your heart, make your tastebuds dance, and knees weaken. And that’s just the cake. I haven’t even mentioned brown butter icing yet…

Brown

butter

icing.

Cornmeal and summer fruit provide a lovely texture to this moist blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. Top with brown butter icing for the ultimate treat! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Over the past few months, we’ve explored the lightest of light cakes (sponge!), no-bake cakes, cakes with vegetables, bundt, pound, and shortcake. I’ve enjoyed getting my feet wet in the cake baking world where my go-to comforts (vanilla cake, funfetti cake, and chocolate cake) are only the tip of the iceberg. Like cookies, the very definition of cake is complex. Cake can come in all different sizes, shape, flavors, and textures. Heck, it can even come on a stick.

You’re a beautifully delicious world, cake.

But no cake– and I seriously mean no cake– compares to a skillet cornmeal cake.

How to make blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here’s Why.

Let’s get one thing straight. Cornmeal cake is NOT cornbread cake. This isn’t super grainy, dry, and blah. (Though my favorite cornbread is anything but blah, I swear.) Rather, it’s mega textured, light, very buttery, mildly sweet, and crisp on the edges.

Buttermilk, the key ingredient here, keeps the cornmeal cake extra moist. (And so does the brown sugar!) Buttermilk’s tangy flavor also helps balance the sweetness, so while this is definitely a dessert, you won’t feel guilty snagging an extra slice… even if that double serving is breakfast. Cornmeal, another key ingredient, gives the cake its pleasantly light gritty texture. Not as gritty as a slice of cornbread, but just enough to differentiate this dessert from regular yellow cake.

One of the best parts? It’s dotted with summer’s freshest fruit. I used peaches and blackberries because (1) they are soooooo good paired together and (2) super juicy. Every bite has a juicy POP which pairs perfectly with the cake’s unique texture.

Cornmeal and summer fruit provide a lovely texture to this moist blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. Top with brown butter icing for the ultimate treat! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Also…

Baking the cornmeal cake in a skillet encourages mega crisp edges, while keeping the center of the cake extra moist. I LOVE the varying texture in every slice. So if texture is your thing, this cake has your name written all over it. I strongly encourage a 10-inch cast iron skillet, but a springform pan works just as well. A regular 9-inch cake pan is too small and short.

Speaking of baking! Overbaking is skillet cornmeal cake suicide. Every single wonderful thing to love about cornmeal cake (light! moist! buttery!) will be erased. So keep your eye on it and follow my baking time suggestions!

For a little extra texture and crunch, I topped the cake with coarse sugar before baking. This is totally optional, but you know I love that little extra sparkle. Not optional? The brown butter icing I obsessed over in the beginning of this post.

Cornmeal and summer fruit provide a lovely texture to this moist blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. Top with brown butter icing for the ultimate treat! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s the same icing we use on the peach bundt cake and these pumpkin oatmeal cookies. After making the peach cake earlier this summer, I had to find another innocent dessert to drench with this stuff. The brown butter icing melts into every little crack and crevice– so while the buttermilk does a mighty job keeping the cake moist– consider the brown butter icing extra moisture insurance.

I mentioned this before, but because butter is solid at room temperature– the brown butter icing will set after several minutes. So it becomes this thick caramel-nutty-buttery layer on top of the blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. And yes, that’s a very good thing.

Cornmeal and summer fruit provide a lovely texture to this moist blackberry peach skillet cornmeal cake. Top with brown butter icing for the ultimate treat! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We brought this over to my in-law’s to celebrate my sis-in-law’s birthday and they all commented on the delicious flavors, textures, and– of course– the icing!! So if you make one cake from the smorgasbord I’ve shared this summer, let this cornmeal cake be it.

Blackberry Peach Skillet Cornmeal Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup (115g) fresh or frozen blackberries (do not thaw)
  • optional: coarse sugar for topping

Brown Butter Icing

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly butter a 10-12 inch oven-safe skillet. Alternatively, you can use a 10-inch springform pan. 9-inch will be a little too small.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. Finally, fold in the fruit. The batter will be slightly thick. Spread into prepared skillet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired (and an extra blackberry or two!).
  4. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If baking in a 12-inch skillet, the cake shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes since it will be thinner.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool on a wire rack before icing and serving.
  6. Make the icing: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-6 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. (Visual pictured here.) Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes. The butter will eventually solidify, so don't let it sit too long. After 5 minutes, whisk in the rest of the icing ingredients until smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar for a thicker texture, if desired. Likewise, add more milk to thin out if needed.
  7. Drizzle over cornmeal cake. Slice and serve warm or you can wait until it's full cool to room temperature. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before serving.

Recipe Notes:

*I strongly suggest using real buttermilk in this recipe. In a pinch, you can use DIY soured milk-- simply add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup and enough whole or 2% milk to reach 2/3 cup. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then use in the recipe.

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Fresh peach cobbler, anyone?

Moist and butter skillet cornmeal cake with blackberries and peach! Topped with brown butter icing! Summer cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

54 comments

  1. mmm i used a not very well seasoned cast iron pan with ridges on the bottom for pancakes recently… and wouldn’t recommend. i’ll have to get a flat bottomed one to try this out! (but also this cake doesn’t require flipping like those pancakes did, so i already have a feeling this would work out better in my pan than the pancakes did lol).

  2. I have never baked anything in a skillet, maybe I should give this a go. Sounds so weird that you put the skillet in the oven…

  3. Thank you for bringing out a cornmeal cake recipe! We call it makkai here in Pakistan, and I have made flat bread (roti), cookies and muffins from it. But I was never happy with the cakes I would try to make, they were always too crumbly and dry (I can tolerate it in a muffin, but not in a cake!)

    Your skillet pictures are making my mouth WATER, it looks like JUST the texture I’m looking for. I’m going to give this a shot for tea time, God Willing. I really hope it tastes as amazing at it looks.

    Thanks again for your recipes and baking tips! You’ve taught me so much, I especially love that you explain the science of what makes things come out a certain way. I’m a total nerd, and I love reading that stuff because it helps me tweak the recipes in my own experiments. Thank you, thank you! I hope you are doing well!

    • We’re one in the same because the science and chemistry behind it all completely amaze me as well! Thank you for the super sweet comment, let me know if you ever try this cornmeal cake!

  4. We have a peach allergy in our house and I’m trying to think of an appropriate substitute. Do you think strawberries would be too wet? I think cherries would be a good texture match, but I’m wondering if anyone else has any suggestions! 

  5. I LOVE skillet corn bread – so I imagine I’d love this cake as well!

  6. Looks wonderful! I cant wait to try it this weekend with my Oregon Blackberries and Utah Peaches!

  7. I seriously love the combination of blackberry and peach. It’s just so summery! And I cannot wait to try that combo in a cornmeal cake. Especially with brown butter icing? Yes, please.

  8. I love you so please don’t hate me- but I noticed 2 things. One- you have “Make the Cupcakes” instead of “Make the Cake” and two- you didn’t include the link for the pumpkin oatmeal cookies. OMG I feel so bad criticizing you 🙁 This looks super yummy I’ll put it on the list! Also- I found a great recipe for you to try after you have your little bundle of joy! Brown Eyed Baker posted a No Bake ROSE!!!!!!!!!! ROSE cheesecake yesterday with cantaloupe and blackberries on top (encased in gelatin) I thought of you immediately because I know you love your summer fruit combos!

    • Thank you for letting me know! Gosh knows I’m not perfect, especially now when I have total pregnancy brain and can’t sleep at night! Thank you again.

    • Also!! I saw Michelle’s recipe. And yes, my mouth was totally drooling. Thank you for thinking of me!!

  9. Sally – I, too, wonder about a substitute for peaches, as we’re not crazy about them. Someone suggested blueberries but somehow that doesn’t appeal to me and it’s too much dark fruit!

  10. I’ve never baked a cake in a skillet before (or anything for that matter). I will admit this cake’s ingredients has me on the fence about it – I love cornbread but cornmeal in cake? I’m willing to give it a shot though because brown butter icing & fresh summer fruit in a nice little cake to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea sounds too good to pass up! 🙂

  11. Could I bake this in a 3.5 inch skillet? If the baking time was reduced,I think these would be adorable as minis.

  12. Sally, I LOVE ❤️ so many of your recipes, watch your instructional  videos u & Kevin do online too! However this Cake looks way too brown…like OVERBAKED? I don’t mean to critize you cuz really enjoy your recipes, but your pie photos also look over baked! I don’t want soggy crust either, but don’t want it ovrrbaked either!

    • Thanks Lolly! I like a nice brown crust on pies rather than a doughy crust. This cake isn’t overbaked either (trust me, it didn’t taste so!) it’s a nice golden brown. But I appreciate your comment and thank you for following my blog!

  13. I saw this recipe this morning and had to go grocery shopping so I picked up huge blackberries and peaches at the store. I have made your regular skillet cornbread recipe so many times that it really borders on embarrassing!!! This recipe looks incredible and I thought the slightly brown color to the cake made it look even better, but everyone is entitled to there opinion. ☺This will be breakfast all weekend if I can keep my hands off from it.

  14. I kind of always felt like cornbread was cake like, I almost always treated it as dessert and now it is!

  15. I’m in love with this cake! Blackberries with peaches sound heavenly, and that brown butter icing is everything!

  16. do you ever de-seed your blackberries? was recently given bags and bags of fresh blackberries that i divided up and froze and now looking for recipes. made your blackberry crumb cake and loved it – except for biting down on seeds randomly. first time baking with blackerries and wondering if there is something i should be doing before adding them in. thanks for all your great posts and advice!!!

  17. I made  this beauty today and the 12′ can feed an army!!  While it turned out perfect I think I should’ve waited longer for the cake to cool down more before I put on the frosting. Being so warm the frosting melted  a bit and made parts of the cake soggy.  I’ll know better next time but even somewhat soggy it’s absolutely DELISH !! Sally do you think this can be frozen without the frosting ?  Super recipe Sally, and congrats to you & all the boys in your house!!! 

  18. Loved it!

  19. Hi, Sally! Great recipe- made it today! Thank and awesome posts! Can not believe you are not in the hall of fame… You are a baking goddess!!! 😉

  20. Made your cake yesterday for something fresh after birthday dinner. Everyone loved it, son-in-law ate 2 pieces! Loved the texture, moistness. I think I might have added more fruit, some of the pieces had fruit on the bottom and some didn’t, so everyone fought over the fruity pieces. Im new to this blogging and I’m finding I love this and your recipes! Thank You, keep them coming. Oh, I also made your zucchini chocolate cake, my daughter and I tasted it together oh my gosh, so good, we looked at each other and started laughing it was so rich and chocolaty, my daughter jokingly said, “you shouldn’t have put so much zucchini in it”

    • HAHA! I’m so glad you all enjoyed the chocolate zucchini cake– and this cake, too! Thank you for reporting back about each 🙂

  21. Hi, Sally ~ I made this for my co-workers, and there wasn’t enough to go around! Multiple people told me that they came back for seconds…and thirds! I’m glad I got my piece first. 😉

  22. Hi Sally,

    I’d like to try this cake but I was wondering if polenta will work…I always have it in the pantry…is there a difference that would not make it work?

    • Hi Kathleen! I can’t speak from experience if it will or won’t, so sorry!

      • Hi Sally…after doing some research I found that polenta is the name of the dish that could be made with a wide variety of grains with cornmeal being the most popular. So I made this cake and well as usual it was so moist and decadent and became even better up to the third day…we disciplined ourselves with little slices :). I also used my trusty 100 year ole cast iron skillet which made the presentation extra special. Sally, at this rate I am quickly gaining a fan base thanks to you!

  23. I love, love, love cornmeal cakes so I had to make this one. For all of you cautious about trying a skillet cake or a cornmeal cake, try it. You will not be sad you did. Frozen blackberries were silly expensive this week so I used raspberries instead. In sum it was an easy weeknight dessert and made a tasty breakfast.

  24. Wow! This looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try it! 

  25. This sounds fantastic! The texture sounds perfect and I can’t wait to try it. We eat mostly gluten free around here, but for special occasions I will make a ‘Regular’ dessert, and this one sounds so good. I’m thinking this might make a good base for a gluten free cake, substituting the regular flour with a good quality gluten free flour mix. Gluten free flours have a lousy texture, IMO. But the corn flour would help mask that, I’m pretty sure of it! Won’t be the same as yours, but I think it will work really well. When I bake gluten free I usually use an oatmeal based recipe in order to hide the texture from the other flours, and it works beautifully. People can’t tell my muffins or cookies are gluten free at all. And I make gluten free cornbread all the time. I’m excited to try this! When I give it a try, I’ll come back and let you all know. Thx for the ideas!

  26. I made this tonight for dinner with my parents and it exceeded my expectations! My cast iron skillet has seen better days, so I used a deep dish 10″ pie plate. It took a bit longer to bake, but the end result was delicious! And the icing! I could have eaten the whole bowl!  I will definitely be making this again!

  27. I finally made this, and holy. S***. So, so, so good. My boyfriend has lost his ability to speak and keeps digging back into the skillet. I want to eat this every day!

  28. Is this feezable once sliced? Thank you!

    • Sure can! Cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before serving.

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