my 23rd cake


This is my happy place. Carova Beach, Outer Banks, NC. Once a year I get to be here with the best company for two weeks of laughter, play, sun, salt, relaxation, sandy doggies and lots of good cooking. Oh, and it also involves my birthday, so cake and fancy drinks are always part of the shenanigans.

margaritas + birthday cake!

My 23rd birthday cake to celebrate this new year of life: a blueberry cornmeal cake with lemon curd – neufchâtel frosting. I thought up the flavor combination when blueberry season was just beginning and had been craving it ever since. So when the day came, I handed the special job over to my boyfriend and supervised carefully to make sure he made it exactly how I imagined :) He did great, topping it off with a decorative blueberry swirl. Thanks Forrest!

*Note: my birthday was in July; I am just now realizing I never got to posting this cake recipe which needs to be preserved forever and ever. And I’m reminiscing of those wonderful two weeks at the beach. Summer, don’t go so fast!

Blueberry cornmeal cake with lemon curd–neufchâtel frosting, adapted from vanilla & spice

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (soy, almond, cow, coconut…)
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup organic cornmeal
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries


  • 4 oz neufchatel cheese
  • ~ ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • milk if necessary

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9 inch cake pan with cooking spray (I used a glass pie dish). Stir together the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through sugar) in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, vanilla extract, and the milk-vinegar mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until the top is slightly firm, the edges are starting to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out dry. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting or slicing.
For frosting: Beat neufchâtel, powdered sugar and lemon curd together with a mixer until fluffy. Add a few drops of milk if needed until you reach desired consistency. These measurements are approximate, so adjust to taste. When cake is cool, frost and top with blueberries and birthday candles!
birthday cornmeal cake

The resulting cake was just as I imagined (or better)! Moist, not overly sweet, like a lighter, cakey-er cornbread, with a creamy and tangy frosting. Perfect the next morning with my coffee, too.

Spending time in this happy place of mine is always a great way to conclude a year and send me off revitalized into the next one. And so far so good for year 23. I have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to these next 12 months….

And then I’ll be back again to celebrate number 24, Carova Beach!


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