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I’ve had a bag of cornmeal in my pantry for quite some time and I knew wanted to make cake out of it.  This recipe was inspired by three staples of the ancient Roman diet:  whole grains, honey, and cheese.  Separately they might not sound extraordinary, but when combined they form something truly magical.  One of the most interesting things about ancient Romans’ eating habits was how they would recline while eating their largest meal of the day, which typically consisted of three courses.  These little cakes are the type of sweets that I imagine would be found gracing the third course of such a feast.

ancientromanbanquet (Image Source) 

These little cakes are dense, moist, and slightly chewy from the cheese and corn meal, with a faint floral, citrusy aroma from the honey and nutmeg.  They’re not overly sweet (which is how I prefer my sweets), so the sweetness of the compote makes a nice addition.  Or if you prefer, you can add more brown sugar to the batter or make a glaze to drizzle on top before serving. 

compoteandcake-small1Plan on making these cakes right before you’re ready to serve them, since they taste best served warm or hot from the oven.  They’re dangerously addictive when they’re freshly made and piping hot without even a drop of glaze or a spoonful of compote.

img_9455-small1Individual Cheese, Honey, & Cornmeal Cakes with Prune Compote


(Yield:  About 24 individual cakes)



1/2 c cottage cheese

2 1/2 c low-fat milk (or more if the batter looks too thick)

2 large eggs

1/2 c honey

1/4 c canola oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 c brown sugar

1 1/4 c yellow corn meal

2 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine salt

Pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Butter, to grease the pan



1 1/2 c prunes (dried plums), pitted and halved

3 TB brown sugar

1 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar

Pinch each nutmeg, salt, and pepper (I know this might sound weird, just trust me, it helps to round out the compote’s flavor and you won’t be able to taste the salt and pepper)


Mini bundt cake pan (my pan makes 12 individual cakes)


For the cake:  Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease the pan with butter.  In a blender or food processor, combine the cottage cheese and milk until smooth.  Transfer the cottage cheese/milk mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the eggs, honey, canola oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.  Once combined, whisk in the corn meal until completely incorporated.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet.  The batter will be thick and somewhat grainy because of the corn meal, but if it’s too thick, add a little more milk or some water to thin it out.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the tops with a spoon to even them out.  Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out with just a couple crumbs.  Serve the cakes warm or hot from the oven, topped with Prune Compote.


For the compote:  In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients with 6 TB water; cook over low to medium-low heat (uncovered) for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated or has been absorbed by the prunes, and the prunes are reconstituted. 






I couldn’t resist adding that last picture…just look how moist it is!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. I really enjoy desserts made with cornmeal. Your cakes look delightful….not sure about the prune sauce though. LOL

  2. Cornmeal has always intimidated me but I am very inspired to give it a try now that I see this awesome concoction! I especially love the last picture, glad you threw it in there. :)

  3. I made salmon with lentils, chickpeas and cous cous last night…it was all pretty good but the lentils and chickpeas could have been jazzed up more..any suggestions?

    1. Blond Duck, That sounds like a delicious meal! I like to add cumin, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil to my lentils since I think they can be a little bland on their own…if you try this, let me know if this spices the lentils up a little! :)

  4. GOOD GRACIOUS!!! That last picture sealed the deal for me! I’m now absolutely craving one of those tender, deliciously sweet cakes! They are not only beautiful, but they sound so so tasty! Your photography is breathtaking and you always make food that is so different and unique. My family would love me if I made these!!

  5. We are big cornbread fans and these look like they would win awards, in our home. Making mini bundts is a great idea.

  6. m loving the pannsss :D:D cake sound delicious!! :D:D

  7. I love your little mini cakes. Both the cakes and the compote look delicious.

  8. I don’t like my cake overly sweet either. These look so scrumptious with that beautiful prune compote! I love your sweet cake pan too!

  9. That’s moist! :)

    I’ve never thought of putting honey, cornmeal, and cheese together, but the more I think of it, the better it sounds. I don’t like cakes too sweet either, so this recipe looks great!

    I love that first picture – that’s how I’m eating ALL of my meals from now on :P

  10. That is the masarepa that I use to make Colombian arepas and bread!!! Those cakes sound delicious….The prunes are a great addition.

  11. I love cheese and honey. I bet these would go great with my red onion jam!

  12. Faith, this little cakes with plum sauce look so yummie, must taste delicious :-)

  13. You are a mastermind in the kitchen! This looks absolutely amazing! I need to find a muffin tin as adorable as this one! :)

  14. Love the idea of the prune compote. Lovely cakes. Cornmeal makes a wonderful addition to pizza dough. Cheers!

  15. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, awesome little cakes and sounds terrific with the prune compote!

  16. i don’t use cornmeal enough–i’ll bet the texture of these is just grand. and prune compote? that’s a new one, and very enticing!

  17. I need to get my hands on some masarepa. First, to make this. And next to make arepas.

    These little cakes look amazing…the texture is beautiful. And I LOVE that compote on top. Oh to be a Roman…

  18. Those look so cute and delicious! A wonderful dessert!



  19. Faith
    I had to reply at once; I just could not believe it when you said your husbad does not like eggplant! You are more Syrian than he is then! lol!

  20. Love the picture of the reclining Romans! These cakes are so elegant! And they sound so delicious served with the compote. I like those pans!

  21. Veronica M. says:

    You are one of the few, maybe the only, person I know that bakes by feel. Or do you? I’ve seen many unique recipes on your blog for baked goods and I’m astounded that you can get a baking experiment to come out right on your first try since it’s such an exact science of liquid to fat to dry. How in the world do you do it? You’re my hero.

  22. Hehe Faith I swear we are connected in some way! I was just saying to Mr NQN that I need a recipe to use up the cornmeal that I have but not just cornbread. And here you are! LOL I love it! :D

  23. Holy….COW!!! Faith, please post as MANY pics as you want! Just when I think your recipes can’t POSSIBLY beat the previous, you prove me wrong! Why are you so freaking fabulous? Oh to live in your kitchen!

  24. I never would have guessed they had cottage cheese in them. Looks so pretty and delicious!

  25. What a great idea, Faith! I never thought much about prunes until I read the brilliant recipe from Moira at tertuliadesabores with sherry and Earl Gray tea.. it was so brilliant it changed my view of prunes forever. Now your turn with balsamic… I am a prune addict now, and your photos are spectcular!!

  26. I really enjoyed that post Faith and imagining the Romans with that pic you put up there!
    I love that cake and guess what? I have the same mini-bundt pan, yes! (I love cornmeal)

  27. I bet these cakes go great with any berry sauce. Actually, the first that popped into my mind was ligoberry (Swedish origin) that you can get Ikea. :)

  28. What an interesting idea – this adorable little cakes look delicious. I am massively envious of your mini bundt tray!

  29. Another fabulous idea! I don’t like overly sweet desserts so these sound perfect. I love your mini bundt cake pan – so cute!

  30. I love cornmeal!!! these cakes look incredible! I can imagine its texture in my mouth~~ ;) Another great creation! :)

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