Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sunflower Cakes

Usually I love Seattle’s weather. Cold, grey, rainy days are perfect for baking and listening to Bon Iver or the Fleet Foxes, sipping a hot cup of coffee as I turn the pages of my recipes. But it’s June: I want the sun’s heat to ripen the little buds on my tomatoes, to kiss my jalapeño plant hello, and to tell my cilantro, “It’s okay, don’t fret, I’m here now.”

It’s been a long cold spring.

After work today, all I really wanted was to bake up something warm and sunny—to turn on the oven and cozy up my apartment with Concentrated Summer. It had to be yellow, edible, and new. Cornmeal is the right color and my latest favorite ingredient is sunflower seeds… et voilà! Sunflower Cakes.

They just happen to go perfectly alongside my Asparagus Sunflower Soup. And as I write, the evening sun has poked out and turned my tomatoes and snap peas a summery shade of chartreuse. The weather here really is perfect for baking.

Sunflower Cakes, hanging out in the garden
Sunflower Cakes
Makes 8-12 muffins, depending on size

1 cup (145g) yellow cornmeal
1 Tbls baking powder
½ cup (75g) sweet rice flour
¼ cup (30g) amaranth flour
2 Tbls (15g) tapioca starch
¼ cup (35g) brown sugar
¼ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds, shelled and ground
½ tsp sea salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup vegetable broth or soymilk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tin or crumpet rings. If using crumpet rings, arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal and baking powder so there are no lump of baking powder. Add the other flours, tapioca starch, and brown sugar. Stir in ground sunflower seeds and salt.

In a separate bowl, measure out oil, vinegar, and broth or soymilk. Beat in egg. Pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix quickly but well. Spoon batter into muffin tin or crumpet rings. Sprinkle over with more roasted salted sunflower seeds.

Bake about 15-20 minutes, until lightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes before removing from rings.

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