Sweet Treats: Vegan Berry Cornmeal Crumble

September 23, 2013

vegan berry cornmeal crumbleI look forward to Sundays for a number of reasons, and nothing makes this one day of the week when it’s okay to be lazy more perfect than baking. It fills the house and body with warm, comforting smells, and the leftovers provide a little extra incentive for making it through the work week.

This Sunday, with the crispness of autumn settling in, I decided to do a variation on a recipe from my go-to cookbook, Deb Perelman‘s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Normally Deb’s recipes–for desserts and non-desserts alike–are extremely vegetarian-friendly, but baking always requires an extra bit of knowledge and ingredients. Since I substituted so many from her original, I’ve given this cake a new name and hope I did her proud with the tweaks. The result was a moist, not-too-sweet cake that is healthy enough to eat in the late morning but will make a great dessert come Wednesday.

Vegan Berry Cornmeal Crumble

(adapted from Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Knopf, 2012)

Serves 12-16

For the cake:

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

1/4 c. canola oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. table salt

1 cup organic cane sugar

2 T. ground flax meal + 6 T. water (the equivalent of 2 eggs)

1/4 t. agave

1 t. lemon juice

1/3 cup Tofutti non-dairy Sour Supreme (I used Greek yogurt, as a non-fat substitute for regular sour cream)

2 cups mixed berries (any combination of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and/or blackberries)


For the streussel:

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

6 T. whole wheat flour

2 T. stone ground yellow cornmeal

1/2 T. cinnamon (or less, per your preference)

Pinch table salt

2 T. unsweetened applesauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment.

Combine the applesauce, oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Add in the flax-water mixture, agave, and lemon juice. Add flour, then sour cream/yogurt, then cornmeal, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add baking powder and salt. Fold in berries with a rubber scraper, being careful not to crush them. Pour batter into prepared pan.

vegan berry cornmeal crumble

To make the streussel, mix together the dry ingredients in a separate medium bowl. Add the applesauce and mash with a fork until crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.


vegan berry cornmeal crumble

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Lift the cake out the pan by the parchment, and cut into squares.

vegan berry cornmeal crumble


vegan berry corn meal crumble

Also by Jennifer: Fall Cleaning – All Natural Products and DIY Tips a Fresh Start

Back to School Shopping with Eco Friendly Stationery


Photo: Jennifer Kurdyla


Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.


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