Candelaria’s Cornstarch Cake

This naturally gluten-free recipe lends itself to many variations. Top with strawberries, figs, raspberries or other seasonal fruits or for extra Cuban flavor, use guava jelly between layers.
Photography By Elizabeth Turnbull | November 15, 2015

Ingredients

Cake
  • 10 large pasteurized eggs
  • ⅔ cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup corn starch
Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
Meringue
  • 2 cups sugar or superfine sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a springform pan with parchment paper.

Separate 8 of the eggs, reserving egg whites. Add the yolks and 2 whole eggs to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low and gradually increase to medium speed until yolks are 3 times the starting volume, about 7 minutes. Yolks will stand on the edge of a spoon without dripping.

Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Then mix on medium-high speed and beat until firm and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Gradually add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix on high speed for 30 seconds and gradually decrease speed until stopping.

Scrape bowl and fold into batter. Work quickly, but gently.

Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, and do NOT open door cake will collapse. Then set broiler to high and brown the top for 1 minute without opening door. Watch closely to avoid burning.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes. Using oven mitts, release the sides of pan and use parchment paper to move cake from pan onto cooling rack. Let cool for an additional 10 minutes then gently remove parchment. Cool to room temperature.

While cake is baking make simple syrup: In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Set aside.

Make the meringue: Pour egg whites without any hint of yolk into a clean dry bowl. Beat until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar beating until stiff peaks form.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place layers cut side up and brush with simple syrup. Place one layer on serving plate. Spread ¼ of the meringue over the layer and top with fruit or your favorite jelly. Top with the next layer positioned cut side up. Trim outside edges of the cake. Ice top and sides with meringue, reserving some to pipe and decorate if desired.

This cake lends itself to many variations. Top with strawberries, figs, raspberries or other seasonal fruits or for extra Cuban flavor, use guava jelly between the layers.

Serves 8-10

About this recipe

Roberta Copa Matos and Elizabeth Turnbull co-own Old Havana Sandwich Shop and Cafe, a farm-to-table Cuban restaurant in downtown Durham. They recently moved to Hillsborough where they are starting a small farm to serve the restaurant. They encourage you to join them in their adventures of growing locally and eating globally.

This recipe was passed down to Roberto by his grandmother Candelaria who was a baker in their hometown of Ranchuelo. It's naturally gluten free and lends itself to endless variations.

Ingredients

Cake
  • 10 large pasteurized eggs
  • ⅔ cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup corn starch
Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
Meringue
  • 2 cups sugar or superfine sugar
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