Christina Balzebre’s Irresistible Cornmeal Pound Cake with Chantilly Cream and Louisiana Strawberries

cornmeal poundcake

Christina Balzebre is the talented pastry chef behind Levee Baking Co., nestled in the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street in New Orleans. With her love for the city’s culinary traditions and passion for creating exquisite baked goods, she’s become a cherished figure in New Orleans. She infuses her creations, like this Cornmeal Pound Cake, with both tradition and innovation and pays homage to classic Southern treats while incorporating modern twists and unexpected ingredients.

From praline-filled beignets to bread pudding with a Cajun kick, Levee Baking Co. treats are a celebration of New Orleans’ culinary heritage. She sources the finest local ingredients, supporting the community and ensuring the freshest flavors. Her attention to detail and commitment to craftsmanship shine in the beautiful presentation of each creation, like this Cornmeal Pound Cake she shared with us. Read more about Christina here

cornmeal poundcakeWhat was the motivation for using yellow cornmeal in this recipe?

I love using cornmeal or different grains in baking to have different flavor-forward experiences. Good-quality cornmeal pairs wonderfully in sweet applications, especially with perfectly ripe fruit like these Louisiana strawberries. You can omit the cornmeal and just replace it with all-purpose flour, but I prefer the variation of texture, color, and flavor.

How can readers ensure they’re not going to bake a cake that’s too dry?

The key indicator that this cake has finished baking is a golden crust that is slightly cracked. You can also stick a toothpick into the center of the cake until just a few crumbs show up on it when removed. Press very lightly on the top of the loaf to ensure that it is firm and not raw, and take the internal temperature of 200°, and I suggest checking the cake at 40 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that in order to not overbake.

cornmeal poundcake

What if the cake is not cooked through after the 40 to 50 minutes?

Though pound cake is a very common dessert, it can be tricky to get it just right. If you want to go a step further to ensure your best bakes, make sure you have an oven thermometer inside your oven to ensure the temperature is accurate. Also, most ovens have hot spots, so rotating your baked goods halfway through baking time is important to bake them evenly. If it turns out that the pound cake did not bake correctly for whatever reason, you can still use it. Crumble up the cake, toast in butter, and serve in a dish or bowl with the same accompaniments. It’s still delicious and a good lesson to embrace mistakes.

How long can the Whipped Chantilly Cream and Macerated Strawberries be refrigerated before they lose texture or flavor?

The cream can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and the strawberries will be at their prime for 1 day after macerating before they really start to release all their juices. If this happens, you can always cook them down and make a coulis out of them. You could prep the cream up to 3 days ahead, but the strawberries are really best the day of.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Chantilly Cream and Louisiana Strawberries

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Chantilly Cream and Louisiana Strawberries
  • cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Whipped Chantilly Cream (recipe follows)
  • Macerated Strawberries (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper; spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, light in color, and almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add vanilla, and beat for 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture until well combined. (Do not overmix or cake will be dry.) Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Serve with cream and strawberries.

Whipped Chantilly Cream
Makes 2¼ Cups
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients with a mixer at medium-high speed until medium-soft peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.

Macerated Strawberries
Makes about 3½ Cups
  • 1 (16-ounce) package) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and let stand until berries are macerated and juicy, about 10 minutes.



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