Never ask a man who is devoid of culinary knowledge to fetch you an obscure-sounding ingredient. If it doesn’t rhyme with clour, dutter, rugar, or zilk, don’t even let the request slip from your lips. It’s a lost cause.
How do I know this? Well.
Yesterday morning I was in desperate need of masa harina, a vital ingredient in the upcoming sweet corn cake recipe (which is absolutely a-maize-ing, I might add). A man, who will remain unnamed so as to not further embarrass him, was going through the car wash. We’ll call him “Bob.” Apparently one can get good cell reception even when in the car wash, as ”Bob” soon received a call.
“Hi! On your way home, would you mind picking up some masa harina from the grocery store?”
Pause on the other end. Clearly my question provoked a great deal of confusion.
“You know, masa harina, spelled m-a-s-a space h-a-r-i-n-a. It’s derived from corn. You might find it in the flour section.”
“Oh, okay. Is that corn starch?”
(Insert facepalm on my end of the phone)
“No, no, masa harina. M-a-s-a space h-a-r-i-n-a. It should be readily available; look for the Quaker brand. Feel free to call me once you’re in the store if you have any questions!”
“Okay, sounds good.”
20 minutes later…
“I couldn’t find any masa kababi…er, whatever it’s called.”
“Are you sure? There really should be some there. You looked in the flour section, right?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t see any.”
At this point, my dream of a delicious, moist, corny, half-pudding-half-cake-like piece of delectability was crushed. However, if I am anything, it’s persistent. I went to a grocery store not more than 5 miles away from the one “Bob” had gone to, and I felt sure I’d find it. I just felt it. It had to be there! Even Quaker produces it. How could it possibly not be there? And more importantly, how could fate deter me from making beloved sweet corn cake?!
In the end, there it was, sitting on the shelf like a queen on her throne. Beautiful and majestic, “Masa Harina de Maize.” Yes! Score!
Due to the ease with which I located masa harina, I can’t help but wonder if “Bob” simply glanced over it. After all, he did venture through the store looking at such things as corn starch and farina (which rhymes with harina). He sure gave one heck of a valiant effort.
In honor of his sweet eagerness, yet comical cluelessness, I hereby christen this corn cake…
Bob’s Sweet Corn Cake (gluten-free)
- 1 can (15.25-oz) whole kernel sweet corn, drained (using sweet corn is key! There’s a big taste difference between sweet and regular corn!)
- 1/2 cup masa harina
- 3 Tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3-1/2 Tablespoons light or regular butter, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons skim milk
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8” square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place sweet corn kernels in blender and blend until partially pureed but still slightly chunky. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together masa harina, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- With electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add honey, pureed corn, water, and milk.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 35-45 minutes, or until sweet corn cake is firm yet moist.
- Allow sweet corn cake to cool 10 minutes before serving. Slice into squares or scoop out portions with an ice cream scoop.