While it wasn’t my intention to write fewer posts over the summer, it has definitely turned out that way. I must admit that I baked less too. When I traveled, however, I was reminded of some of the commercial baked goods I used to love that just don’t seem to be available on the West coast.

I have never seen Thomas’ Toast-R Cakes in grocery stores in Los Angeles, Oregon or the SF Bay Area, has anyone else? Why are we good enough for their English Muffins but be inexplicably denied these delectable, well-engineered bakery treats? When I would go back to my native NY to visit family, my mom would usually have the cornbread or blueberry varieties on hand and I always went for the corn ones. Toasted and then spread with a little butter or jam, they’re a joy. The Toast-R Cake definitely pre-dates the emergence of the muffin top as a thing. I now see from finding the ingredient list for Thomas’ brand on-line that, unfortunately, High Fructose Corn Syrup is in first position of ingredients.

One of my few baking forays this summer involved making Cornmeal Cherry Scones that I tried and found delicious when served them at a friend’s house. Along with the recipe, the baker gave me a tip about taking a step that would help the scones to keep their height during baking, but I must have ignored it because what I got was this:

The bad news was they were pretty flat for scones, the good news: they fit in the toaster! Reheating them this way brought out a nice crunchiness factor, which is my favorite part. On my home crew’s recommendation, I am henceforward leaving out the dried cherries and making them with the idea that they will simply be Corn Muffin Toast-R Cakes.

The annotated recipe follows below.  Please enjoy these wholesome, HFCS-free, accidentally well-engineered-for-your-toaster treats!

Cornmeal Cherry scones to Corn Muffin Toast-R Cakes

2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 c. sugar (plus 1/4 c. for sprinkling)
1-1/2 c cornmeal
1 c cold unsalted butter
3/4 c. dried sweet cherries
1-1/4 c buttermilk

preheat to 425.
combine dry ingredients
cut butter into dry ingredients until mix is size of small peas
stir in cherries [or ditch the cherries, says the hub, they’re distracting]
make a well in the center; add buttermilk
[If you don’t want to buy buttermilk, mix 1-1/2 tbsp lemon with 1 cup milk and let sit for 10 minutes. That’s DIY clabbered milk, and it can be used as a substitute.]
mix briefly until ingredients just come together (some loose flour should remain at bottom of bowl)
Let batter stand for 5 minutes.
Shape dough gently into 2-1/4″ spheres; [This is the time to remove rings, if wearing any. This batter is sticky.]
sprinkle with sugar (I roll the top of the balls into a bowl of sugar). Turn temp to 375 / bake for 20-25min.
Note: I like to refrigerate the balls for 15 minutes or so before baking. I find this reduces the spreading out effect. [I did this as suggested. They still spread plenty. But as I noted above, I was happy with the shape.]

Original source was an article in the SF Chronicle: “Cheese Board Cherry Scones”