Avy Cake

Good food doesn't always have to be made completely from scratch. For me, it's especially so when it comes to baking. Pastry/cake/cookies/pies are as challenging as astrophysics. I've turned 3" chocolate chip cookies into a Pangea cookie when I followed (I think) the recipe exactly. Not to mention the thought of making pie crust can make the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight.

Since giving up on baking from scratch, I've come to appreciate using box mixes and throw in a dash of creativity to make them my own. There have been Khalua No-Pudge brownies, apple sauce pumpkin bread, and the latest, boxed cornbread mix dolled up with some rosemary and strawberry jam.

Miss Avy
photo from Auntie Karen
I had taken the liberty to name this sweet treat as Avy Cake, after the little girl who inspired this recipe. Avy is the daughter of my partner's dragonboat coach and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was born. Since birth, Avy has brought the team together in the way that food brings people together. I'm not sure how it came about, but AvyCakes has been one of her earliest nicknames.

With the amount of time that food occupies my thoughts, I'm surprised how long it took me to think of making a literal and edible interpretation of Avy's nickname. So after spending some time in the think tank (aka my kitchen), Strawberry Rosemary Cornbread Cake was born! The strawberry and corn are to showcase in-season ingredients during July, Avy's birth month. And why cake? Because cake can elicit big smiles, just like Avy herself!

Avy Cake
makes a 9" cake
1 box TJ's Cornbread Baking Mix
1 egg
¾ C milk (cow's, soy, almond, hemp, etc)
½ C vegetable oil
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Dash of ground cinnamon & nutmeg
¼ C strawberry jam (TJ's organic reduced sugar used) 

  • Preheat oven to 400 F, with cast iron skillet inside.
  • Prepare cornbread as directed on package.
  • Fold in rosemary, cinnamon, & nutmeg.
  • Removed skillet from oven and oil skillet thoroughly (very important!). My Prepara mister was perfect for this job. 
  • Pour batter into skillet.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes on a middle rack, until top is golden brown.
  • Remove skillet from oven and let rest for 2 minutes. 
  • Flip skillet over and cake should pop out after a little shake (if oiled well).
  • Let cool on rack.
  • With a sharp knife, slice cake into 2 halves, bottom & top.
  • Spread preserves evenly over bottom half. Put top back on.
  • Slice, serve, & enjoy!
With the holidays coming up, bake and share Avy Cakes with your family and friends! They're delicious, foolproof, and affordable. They also make meaningful, one-of-a-kind gifts! 

Curious about what dragonboating is?? Check out this awesome video of teamLARD!
Our Dragon Boat Philosophy from Philip Sun on Vimeo.

Avy Cake had its official debut at the LARD banquet this weekend. Mucho thanks to Avy's aunt, Karen, for lending me the cake stand! Hopefully everyone who wanted to try it got a piece... they went faster than I thought! 


delwin said...

what a great recipe. such a delicious cake

Nancy said...

That is so sweet! I absolutely love the idea of AvyCake.

There is also nothing better tasting than homemade pie crust! Can I help? :]

Gigi said...

I love the picture of Avy! I love the story telling especially when it's paired with food. It makes the food have a more profound meaning beyond its already-awesome aesthetics. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to find things and people around me to bake for and bring more meaning to food.

P.S. If you ever need a baked good, I will trade you for a savory dish! :)

Elizabeth @HEALingFoodie said...

@ Delwin: It is pretty yum, especially right after it comes out of the oven!

@ Nancy: I love homemade pie crusts, too. Hmm, perhaps you'll have to give me a lesson on it :)

@ Gigi: Avy is a real cutie patootie! She made it easy to find inspiration for this cake. I love how cooking is like story-telling in a way... glad you enjoyed Avy's story :)

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