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Cherry cornmeal muffins

Updated: Tue, 5 September, 2023

Glace cherry cornmeal muffins made specially for the gluten intolerant but so delightful, you’ll want to bookmark the recipe regardless.

cherry cornmeal muffins

It’s no fun being gluten intolerant

If you want these to be gluten free, look for specialist gluten free flour instead of plain. I know – gluten intolerance is a pain.

It means reading all labels like the most fascinating crime capers or like you’re studying for A Level Labels. It’s denying yourself golden, fluffy and rich brioche and having an oatcake instead.

It’s when your pasta craving has to be satisfied by straight-to-wok rice noodles. It’s telling yourself that you’re baking lemon polenta, almond Santiago cake and flourless brownies only because you fancy them, not because they are gluten free.

It means eating rice dishes in a noodle bar. It means no beer.

And it’s not even like the effects of ingesting gluten while intolerant are spectacular or impressive, like a good full-on anaphylactic shock or swelling all over and suffocating. No – it’s burping, gurgling and farting. Not sexy.

buttery corn muffins

Gluten free on a whim is so wrong!

Whatever you say about coconut flour, teff, tapioca or cassava, people do not use them for baking because they have a choice and whimsically pick the substances that are smelly, unpleasantly tangy, and impossible to coalesce into dough.

They have no choice: wheat or rye does not grow where they live or is far too expensive to afford for daily bread.

Thus gluten freedom by choice is not only unnecessary: it makes a mockery of those folks’ lives; of their poverty and the ‘eat what grows’ imperative.

There is a reason why wheat, rye and barley have become staples over centuries: they are the best, tastiest and easiest to process.

cornmeal muffins with glace cherries

Corn, cornmeal, maize, polenta

That is not to say that other grains are worthless, and I certainly wouldn’t say it about corn. It’s a grain which can also be called a vegetable; it gives us flour and a side dish, breakfasts and snacks.

Cornmeal or polenta is wonderful in shortcrust pastries, sweet and savoury, and it dredges, coats and crusts as well as wheat flour or breadcrumbs.

And corn muffins are unfairly overlooked in the UK – the texture is unparalleled and goes well with both fruit and chocolate. True, you don’t get the muffin top as impressive as the one carried by wheat flour muffins but hey, we can do without it over the paper case as much as over our belts.

gluten free cornmeal muffins

How to make cherry cornmeal muffins

I adapted Melissa Clarke’s NY Times recipe cutting down the butter and adding glace cherries. And for my purposes gluten free flour mix goes in instead of plain flour. But if you’re intolerances and allergies free, enjoy them with wheat flour.

It’s the supremely easy method of mixing all the dry ingredients, the cornmeal, flour, leavening agents and sugar in one bowl, and all the wet ones (melted butter, milk, egg and sour cream) in another. Fold one into the other (it is completely irrelevant which go into which, in case you ever wondered) to obtain rough, lumpy batter.

wet and dry ingredients

The additions, be it raisins or, in this instance, chopped glace cherries, are best stirred into the flour mix so the powdery environment coats them and stops from clumping.

The batter should now be spooned into a buttered muffin tin or muffin cases, though I do like the crunchy, buttery outside of these muffins when they bake straight in the tin, without paper lining.

baking cornmeal muffins


The original recipe from NYT doesn’t even feature cherries – it’s a plain muffin there, no flavouring or adornments. So my cherries are one option and they can be swapped for cranberries, raisins or chunks of any dried fruit.

You can also add nuts or almonds, chopped roughly. Pistachios will be especially pretty in the yellow crumb.

Flavour the muffins if you want, with lemon or lime zest, also replacing milk with lime or lemon juice.

You can add drops of rose water for a Middle Eastern vibe. Or vanilla.

Chopped dark chocolate will work well, as will raw chocolate nibs. But if you want the whole sickly sweet experience, bung a handful of Smarties in and find out what happens.

cornmeal muffins

More gluten free baking recipes

Flourless sponge cake with ground walnuts and a layer of apricot jam with grated dark chocolate topping: exquisite, elegant, delicious and gluten free.

Date and walnut nougat meringues, the most exquisite sweets for all meringue, nougat, marshmallow and turrón lovers. Meringue never tasted better!

King Oscar II cake is also known as Swedish almond tart. It's an almond macaron style cake filled with almond buttercream, easy to make and absolutely delightful.

More cornmeal recipes

Blueberry cornmeal shortbread tart from Alison Roman, slightly tweaked, is the best pie/tart/cobbler for the summer season. No soggy bottom!

Cornmeal shortbread with lemon flavour, meltingly tender and gluten free. Cut your favourite cookie shapes, bake till barely coloured and dip in your tea for a classic dunking experience!

Polenta chips baked in the oven to a golden crisp, cooked from scratch with Parmesan and chives, and arguably better than potato chips.

gluiten free corn muffins with glace cherries

Cherry cornmeal muffins

Servings: makes 9 muffinsTime: 35 minutes


  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the muffin tin
  • 120g (1 cup) coarse or stoneground cornmeal (polenta, not quick cook)
  • 95g (34 cup) plain or white gluten free flour
  • 80g (13 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 14 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tsp fine sea salt
  • 14 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 12 glace cherries, chopped
  • 120ml (12 cup) soured cream (or full fat Greek yoghurt)
  • 60ml (14 cup) whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tsp demerara sugar, for sprinkling


1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and let it cool down slightly.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Butter a 12-hole muffin tin.

3. In a large bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb of soda. Stir in the cherries, separating the pieces from sticking together in clumps.

4. Whisk the milk and cream into cooled butter, whisk in the egg. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix into lumpy batter.

5. Spoon the mix into 9 muffin tin holes. Sprinkle the muffins with demerara sugar and transfer to the oven, onto the middle rack.

6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crisp around the edges, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

7. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around each muffin to remove them onto a wire rack. They can be halved and toasted lightly under the grill in the unlikely event of lasting more than a couple of days.

Originally published: Thu, 9 January, 2020

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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