Mini Cornmeal Cakes with Whipped Mascarpone and Fresh Berries
Light and fluffy mini cornmeal cakes are topped with lightly sweetened whipped mascarpone and fresh berries. A simple summer dessert that can be prepared in less than 45 minutes!
Growing up (OK, still to this day), my favorite dessert was my mom’s raspberry roll cake. If we were lucky, it would include freshly picked berries from our favorite farm just outside of DC, a day-trip during the summer days when we were off from school.
My mom has made various versions of it over the years–chocolate-berry, buche de noels for the holiday season, and chocolate-orange, but I was a classic, vanilla sponge cake fiend through and through. If I was being a pain in the butt and it was my birthday, I would request two roll cakes.
Because let’s face it, my family (particularly my oldest sister–YES, I’m calling you out, Alessandra!) is not the best when it comes to sharing food, particularly when it comes to sharing our favorite foods.
I was never a huge fan (the understatement of the century) of traditional cake frostings–as I often times found/find them to be way too sweet. I was the little girl who would scrape off the frosting–unless of course it was a very good frosting–to get to the good part: the cake.
To this day, this simple combination of sponge cake with whipped cream and berries continues to be one of my favorite desserts, particularly during the summertime when you’re looking for a light, not-too-heavy or overly-sweet dessert that won’t weigh you down.
These mini cornmeal cakes topped with whipped mascarpone and fresh berries are exactly that. Plus, they are ridiculously easy to make! As in, it will take you just 45 minutes to make these from start to finish. They also require practically zero special equipment (just a standard muffin tin and a hand-held or stand mixer).
Although these mini cornmeal cakes aren’t a traditional sponge cake by any means, they are just as light and fluffy in texture. Plus, they’re individually portioned for serving!
Are they cupcakes? Well, no, not really. If anything, these mini cornmeal cakes resemble British fairy cakes, as they are smaller and not piled high with frosting, as many cupcakes are these days.
The cornmeal addition, though small in quantity, gives them a noticeable flavor, similar to that of a sweeter cornbread. And yet, the texture could not be more fluffy! Particularly, when they are eaten within just a few hours of baking.
Oh, and that whipped mascarpone frosting?! You will want to eat it straight from the mixing bowl. Move aside buttercream, this stuff wins hands-down.
Essentially equal parts (in measurement, not weight) of mascarpone cheese and heavy cream whipped until it thickens and reaches soft peaks. It’s flavored with pure vanilla extract, and sweetened with just the smallest amount of powdered sugar.
Ugh, so good. Simple and perfect.
Although you could easily use just lightly sweetened whipped cream, I highly recommend the addition of mascarpone cheese, as the thicker texture holds up better to the cornmeal cakes.
The mascarpone also helps to stabilize the frosting (particularly helpful if you are transporting these to a friends house or preparing them a little bit further in advance).
The best part of these mini cornmeal cakes?!
They’re supposed to be rustic! So skip the piping bag and pastry tip, grab a spoon and add a nice dollop of whipped mascarpone on top of each cake. Top them with a few berries (I love the combination of blackberries and raspberries), dust them finely with powdered sugar just before serving, and you’re ready to go.
To add a little extra pop of color, I added just the smallest amount of fresh lemon zest as well. Enjoy!
Mini Cornmeal Cakes with Whipped Mascarpone and Fresh Berries
Mini Cornmeal Cakes:
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (110 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (30 g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoons (140 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 10 tablespoons (5 oz; 145 g) unsalted butter very soft
Whipped Mascarpone Frosting:
- ½ cup (115 g) mascarpone cheese room temperature
- ½ cup (120 mL) chilled heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons (24 g) powdered sugar sifted
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- powdered sugar for dusting
- 4 oz fresh raspberries and blackberries
- fresh lemon zest for garnishing
- Prepare the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with 11 paper liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the whole eggs and softened butter (yes, I know it sounds a bit weird, trust me on this!). Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl. Turn on the mixer to medium speed (4) and beat the batter for 2 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin cups. The batter should reach about half-way up each cup. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cornmeal cakes are golden brown and springy to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the baking tin, on a rack, for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the cornmeal cakes from the tin, set on a rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before decorating.
- Prepare the Whipped Mascarpone: In a clean stand mixer bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat at low speed, slowly increasing to medium speed, until the mixture thickens and forms soft peaks. Note: Be careful to avoid over-beating the mixture, it comes together very quickly.
- Assembly: Using a spoon, add a dollop of whipped mascarpone onto the center of each cooled cornmeal cake. Using a fine-meshed sieve, dust the cakes lightly with powdered sugar. Top each cake with a mixture of fresh blackberries and fresh raspberries, and freshly grated lemon zest. Serve immediately.
- Frosted cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, but are best served at room temperature and the day they are baked. If you would prefer to skip the mascarpone cheese, increase the heavy cream quantity to 1 cup.
19 Comments on “Mini Cornmeal Cakes with Whipped Mascarpone and Fresh Berries”
A great recipe! The cakes are light and moist and pair well with the mascarpone. Wonderful with tea, and I imagine theyd be great in the summer too.
Thanks for calling me out, Laura!!! I maintain that it is mom and dad’s fault for having 3 kids — it is just really hard to equally divide things into threes 😉
These mini cakes are just absolutely gorgeous, Laura!!! Oh my gosh, they seriously took my breath away. I want to eat 5,000 of them then come back for more. Pinned!
Your cornmeal cakes are beautiful!! I’m pinning these for later!
For our birthdays we would only ever get sponge cake with homemade whipped cream and berries. SO GOOD. Though, these dressed up cornmeal cakes sound even better. Love the sweet and tangy mascarpone frosting!
Thanks for the kind words about our family roll cake! And remember, we were not the only ones who love it! Geordie, Treacle, and Demelza, (all our labs) were known to have stolen or taken huge chucks out of these cakes over the years! Yummy! And, yes, I love the little corn cakes, not to sweet but yummy! Your dad is still upset with me for eating the last one!
I love cakes with fresh fruits and adding a mascarpone cheese must be even more delicious!
I want I want! Those berries look gorgeous on top!
Okay, these are just RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous 🙂 And I’m so with you–I’ve never been a fan of cake (or the thick supermarket frosting) and am totally with you on heaping all that goodness with whipped cream and berries.
So simple and so preeeeetty!!
Laura, this is heaven. I love LOVE the sound of these cornmeal cakes (which is pretty much how I like my corn”bread”) and with that mascarpone whip! Too good.
Rustic is definitely my way of doing things! 🙂
Waiting for the weekend to bake these beauties.
Cannot wait until berry season so i can make these little beauties. So so pretty. xo
I’m going to have to try these soon. Really soon.
People seriously have no idea how good cornmeal cake can be. I am such a huge fan and that dollop of fresh mascarpone is genius!
These are so frickin cute and love the texture of the cornmeal!
NO PASTRY BAG?! YES PLEASE!
The texture of these gorgeous little bites is INSANELY perfect. I love that you added cornmeal…and fresh berries are ALWAYS a good life choice. Pinned!
These mini cakes are beautiful and look so delicious! I’m with you on the frosting—I don’t like them really sweet. And I love mascarpone, so this frosting is perfect!
Oh man! Definitely need to try these. I love that these are cornmeal!!