Boozed Up Citrus Cornmeal Cake

I know – maybe the name of the cake should be a bit more refined… but really, that is exactly what kind of cake I made. It is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Orange Cornmeal Cake, which I made for my husband several years ago. Since I first made that cake he has talked about it to friends on several occassions. Even when I first made it, I boozed it up a bit. When it came out of the oven I poured a generous amount of Grand Marnier over the top as the cake cooled. The result was, well, pretty damn good. Butter (lots of it) cornmeal, orange flavors, and alcohol – it is kind of hard to go wrong. In fact, I have mentioned on several posts before that adding alcohol (in responsible and reasonable amounts of course) to desserts often enhances the flavors.

While the original recipe is pretty perfect, I found I did not have any oranges in the house when making this the second time around, so I used lemons instead and added in some Fiori di Sicilia instead of orange oil. When you mix all of the ingredients together, they will look a bit curdled – it is ok, it all comes together in the end as often happens when you cook/bake. Have fun with it. It is just a recipe after all.

Boozed Up Citrus Cornmeal Cake

Recipe by Lily

(adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Orange Cornmeal Cake in her book “Forever Summer”)


  • 8 oz soft unsalted butter

  • 4 oz fine yellow cornmeal

  • 1/2 c caster sugar

  • 4 medium eggs

  • 1/4 c plain lowfat yogurt (I used greek yogurt)

  • juice + zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 3/4 oz flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia OR orange oil OR vanilla extract

  • 1/3-1/2 c Cointreau or Grand Marnier


  • Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Grease a springform pan and place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a stand or hand-held mixer. Add in the eggs, and mix well, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the yogurt, lemon juice and zest and mix. The mixture might seem a bit curdled, don’t worry. It will all come together when baking. Finally, add in the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and pour into the pan. Bake for 38-40 minutes or until firm and golden brown on top.
  • Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then run a knive around the edge before you release the cake gently from the pan. Turn the cake on a cooling rack. While it is cooling pour about 1/4 C of Cointreau over the cake (this will be the bottom of the cake) and let is soak in. When the cake is full cooled and about 30 minutes before serving, pour the remaining Cointreau over the top of the cake.
  • Serve alone or with fresh berries and cream.

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