Cornmeal Butter Cake

Cornmeal Butter Cake | Cookie Monster Cooking

I feel like this cake and I were meant to be.  We’ve been slowly trying some of the local restaurants in our new area and hands down my favorite so far has been Watts Grocery.  With local, seasonal items always on the menu, it’s quite frankly, pretty darn awesome.

I was in the mood for dessert last week and starting browsing recipes online, when I came across this cornmeal butter cake.  And about died when I saw where the recipe originated.  Watts Grocery.  Yep, I may have ordered this cake from their dessert menu several times – partly to the dismay of my husband since I constantly refuse to let us try anything else.  Needless to say, this was made almost immediately in my kitchen.

Cornmeal Butter Cake | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let me just say that you’re definitely going to want to try this soon.  I feel like I can’t even do it justice attempting to describe it.  It’s made with browned butter and pecans, and is so moist.  Word of warning though – there is a 3 hour wait time in the recipe to help the cornmeal soften, so please be sure to plan ahead!

Cornmeal Butter Cake | Cookie Monster Cooking

My favorite way to eat this gem of a cake?  With a scoop of caramel ice cream just like at the restaurant.  So why is there whipped cream in the photos instead?  My husband decided to eat the ice cream that I bought when I was away at the beach for the weekend.  Even though I left specific instructions not to touch it, bam.  Completely gone.  I should have known it wasn’t safe…

Yield: 1 9-inch tart

Cornmeal Butter Cake

Recipe for cornmeal butter cake. Made with browned butter and pecans, this cake is moist and flavorful. Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Did you make this recipe?


For the cake:

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 tablespoons white or yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Serving ideas:

  • caramel ice cream
  • fresh whipped cream
  • berries or sliced peaches


  1. Set a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. Let the butter melt and then continue to cook, whisking frequently, until it begins to brown (this takes several minutes). You should see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you see those bits, turn off the heat and continue to whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, until the butter is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the butter – those bits can turn black quickly.** Set the pan aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the pecans, confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar. Pulse until the mixture is powdery. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornmeal and salt. Add the pecan mixture to the bowl and whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and vanilla. Add this mixture as well as the browned butter to the bowl with the flour and mix until incorporated. Cover the bowl loosely and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (be sure to use parchment paper and not just grease the bottom) and then place the pan on a baking sheet. Spoon the chilled batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth in the pan. Bake for about 25 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (be very careful when removing from the pan).
  4. Slice and serve with a scoop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Top with berries or sliced peaches if desired.

Please keep in mind that this recipe requires the batter to sit for at least 3 hours before baking. Plan accordingly!!

**I found this post incredibly helpful the first few times I browned butter.

Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Originally from Watts Grocery via the New York Times.

*Please note that I have no affiliation with Watts Grocery.  Just telling you about a restaurant that I really love.