Seasonally inspired recipes from 42.79 N, 70.81 W

  • Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel

Posted on January 9, 2017

So…am I being a total jerk for posting a cake recipe during the second week of January?

If I am, you guys can totally tell me. Be honest.

Well…maybe not too honest. I don’t want my feelings to get hurt.

But here’s the thing: I like cake. I like baking it. I like sharing it with friends. And I like eating it. So I’m going to continue to do those things. Maybe with a little less frequency than I was doing in December. But I’m not going to abandon desserts altogether. Deprivation doesn’t jive well with me. Someone always ends up getting hurt in the end.

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel | www.floatingkitchen.net

And this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel is just barely crossing the threshold into the “dessert” category. The cake itself isn’t too terribly sweet. In fact, I’d say it’s definitely leaning more on the cornbread side of the equation than on the cake side of the equation. And if you skip the glaze, it would totally be acceptable to enjoy a slice (or two!) at breakfast or brunch. No one would judge you.

The fennel seeds were a last minute addition, spurred by the all mighty Google machine. When I was researching recipes, I found several sweet cornmeal cake recipes (usually Italian or Brazilian in origin) that used them. And that sounded like a pretty good idea to me. So I gave it a go. And holy moly, it might just be my favorite part of this recipe. So whatever you do, definitely don’t skip the fennel seeds!

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’m sharing this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel as part of our monthly seasonal eating round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. At the start of each month, Becky posts a guide outlining which fruits and vegetables are currently at their peak, along with recipe suggestions for how to use them. You can find her January produce guide here. And then myself and a few other bloggers make new recipes to further highlight those ingredients. Check out the links below to see what everyone has created for the month of January. And follow along with the hashtag #eatseasonal on social media to see even more inspiring seasonal recipes!



Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel

Yield: Maks one 8- or 9-inch cake

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel


  • For the Cake
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated grapefruit zest

  • For the Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated grapefruit zest


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut out a round of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of your cake pan. Coat the bottom and sides of your cake pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Then lay the parchment paper-round down in the bottom of the pan. Brush some olive oil on top of the parchment paper-round. Set your prepared pan aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the olive oil, eggs, sugar and grapefruit juice. Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and mix until the flour is just incorporated. Whisk in the fennel seeds and grapefruit zest.
  3. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan and smooth the surface. Transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of the cake to help separate it from the sides of the pan and invert the pan onto a plate. Remove and discard the parchment paper from the cake. Then carefully re-invert the cake back onto the wire rack to finish cooling.
  4. While the cake is cooling, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl until smooth.
  5. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.
  6. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

January Eat Seasonal Recipes


Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie by Letty’s Kitchen

Leek and Turnip Soup by Vintage Mixer

Apple Almond Bircher Meusli with Winter Fruits by Simple Bites

Saucy Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry and Mint by Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash Boats by She Likes Food

Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries by JoyFoodSunshine

Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette by Project Domestication

Winter Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce by Cafe Johnsonia

Meyer Lemon Coconut Panna Cotta by Kitchen Confidante

Maple Orange Teriyaki Salmon Bowls by Flavor the Moments

  • Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Posted on January 5, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is off to a wonderful start for everyone.

I must say, this first week of January has been pretty good to me. I’m feeling more rested and relaxed than usual. And I may have even detected a small “spring in my step” the other day when I was out walking my dog. I guess I was anxious (and long overdue) for a bit of a reset.

In general, I always love this time of year. Christmas is safely behind us (remember that I’m a big Scrooge!). And everything seems sparkly and fresh. And while I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I find they cause me unnecessary stress and anxiety), I was prompted by a friend to set three words of intention for 2017, and I decided to give that a go. It’s a seemingly simple task, but it did force me to pause and think about what I would like to achieve going forward into the New Year.

So my three words for 2017 are: create, peace, present.

What are your intentions for 2017? If you have three words you’d like to set, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup | www.floatingkitchen.net

So…let’s talk about this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup. YOU GUYS it’s so freaking good. I made a giant pot last week and I didn’t share it with anyone. I greedily ate it all by myself. And I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to cook for several nights. I was in heaven.

This soup is full to the brim with delicious seasonal vegetables, nourishing ingredients and all the feel good vibes you can handle. It’s a great way to kick off the New Year. And trust me, you won’t feel deprived one bit. I’m totally digging it. And I know you will be too.

To make this minestrone soup recipe all cozy for winter, I used butternut squash and fennel in place of the usual carrots and celery. Then I added in a couple big handfuls of dark, leafy kale and lots of fresh herbs to keep things bright. I stuck with the more traditional ditalini and white beans, but you could certainly use any small-ish pasta and/or beans that you like. It’s all good in my book.

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup | www.floatingkitchen.net

This recipe calls for a large jar of tomato Passata, which is an uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of the seeds and skins. Look for tomato Passata in your grocery store, located next to the other jarred/canned tomato products. Canned tomato purée is cooked and usually not strained, so it’s not an exact substitute. But you could probably use it in a pinch, if necessary. The other option would be to purchase canned whole tomatoes, then run them through your food processor or blender and strain them to achieve a smooth consistency.

This soup recipe itself is dairy free. I do like to shred some Parmesan cheese on top to finish the dish for serving. However, if you’re going dairy free, just leave that part out. Easy peasy!

I’m sharing this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup recipe today as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series. That’s right! You can make this gorgeous, satisfying soup in only 30 minutes! Just be sure to use a big pot for increased surface area and faster cooking. And keep the vegetables small and uniform so they cook up quickly and evenly. And before you go, check out the links below to see the other #30MinuteThursday recipes created by some of my blogging buddies!



Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Serves about 6

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced fennel
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (24.5 ounce) jar tomato Passata (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the butternut squash, onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. If the pot is getting dry, you can add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and Passata. Use the water to rinse out the Passata jar and add it to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ditalini according to the package instructions until it’s al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cannellini beans, sliced kale and 3/4 cups of the chopped parsley to the soup and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked ditalini and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the soup for salt and black pepper.
  5. Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Top with some of the reserved parsley and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
  6. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. The soup will thicken oven time. You can add additional vegetable broth to thin the soup when re-heating it, if desired.


Fajita Gnocchi Skillet with Avocado Salsa from She Likes Food

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini from Pumpkin N’ Spice

30-Minute Chicken with Greek Avgolemono Sauce from Flavor The Moments

One Pot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac from The Recipe Rebel

30-Minute Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo from My Kitchen Craze

Spiralized Veggie Thai Noodle Bowls from Sweet Peas and Saffron