Then it started to smell like something was burning. Then the smoke detector went off. Then I pulled the pie out while Justin used a metal spatula to scrape the burning apple juice off the bottom of the oven. Then I vowed to never make apple pie again because I didn't even like it all that much anyway and it was definitely not worth the fuss.
But I told you that story to tell you this story: apparently we missed some of the juice on the bottom of the oven, because when I baked this cake a few days later, it came out with the faintest whisper of smokey flavor to it, the kind of taste that can only happen when your oven fills with the vapor of burning caramel sauce, unseen to the eye, but absorbed by every single crumb of your cake.
At first, it was only my sister and me who tasted it, and that's saying a lot for her since her diet mostly consists of pizza rolls and Sour Patch kids, but everyone else at the table denied any sort of odd flavor. But the next day, the smokiness had completely saturated the cake, every last morsel, and my Dad called from work to report his leftover slice now tasted like "smokey joe." I don't even know what that means, but it was enough to chuck the last bit of cake into the garbage.
Now, I don't want my silly mistake to deter you from baking this cake. Really, it is worth your time. You start with a humble looking round cake, tart with lemon but with a bit of grit from the cornmeal. Then you slather it, still hot, with a thick and gooey lemon glaze. While that cools and crisps into a shattery lemon crust, you make a quick and dirty crushed blueberry sauce with a few spoonfuls of brown sugar to help the
Really, the sauce alone is enough to forget all about that pie and the woe it caused. But I'd like to encourage you to try the cake, too, as it had unlimited amounts of potential were it not for my husbands insistence we have pie. So I guess what I'm saying is...this is all his fault.
Adapted from Bon Appetit.