A simple, rustic grape cake recipe with all the depth of fresh grapes baked into a delicate, lightly sweet cornmeal cake. The perfect dessert for any occasion! Serve this at your next family gathering or potluck and watch the rave reviews come pouring in!

Grape cake squares near a bowl of honey and purple grapes.

Studded with juicy red grapes, this grape cake is tender and moist with hints of vanilla and citrus. It’s perfect for dessert, brunch or a snack with hot tea. You will absolutely love the combination of flavors – the lemony cornbread flavor with the sweet juicy grapes is an amazing taste.

If you’ve never baked with grapes, you’re in for a real treat! They add fresh, juicy, sweet bursts of deliciousness in every bite. In fact, the Italian grape cake is popular in Italy, made with leftover grapes from harvest season. It’s quickly become my favorite way to enjoy grapes… and cake!

This crowd-pleasing dessert is unfussy, just sweet enough and delicately sprinkled with a little bit of sugar before baking. This forms a sweet crusty texture on top, which is so irresistible!

I made this for my co-workers, and there wasn’t enough to go around! Multiple people told me that they came back for seconds…and thirds! I’m glad I got my piece first.

— Emily

Reasons to make this recipe

  • Quick and easy to make: This easy cake recipe is made with simple ingredients and there’s no standing mixer required!
  • So delicious: You’ll love how the bursts of juicy, sweet grapes complement the moist, rustic cornmeal cake.
  • Delicate texture: Each bite is light, fluffy and tender. So good!
  • Great for any occasion: Whether it’s a lazy weekend at home or you’re in need of a dessert to serve at a bridal shower, baby shower or really any little get together, this grape cornmeal cake is a great option. Your friends and family will go crazy for it!
Two pieces of grape cake stacked with a drizzle of honey.

Ingredients needed

Fresh grapes and a hint of lemon zest give this grape cake a bright flavor, while the cornmeal adds a rustic texture that is super moist from the olive oil. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this grape cake recipe:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour will work best to yield a tender crumb.
  • Cornmeal: Using yellow cornmeal brings a unique texture, buttery taste and lovely rustic charm.
  • Baking powder: For the perfect rise while baking.
  • Salt: Enhances all of the flavors.
  • Eggs: Binds the ingredients together.
  • Milk: Adds extra moisture.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar or turbinado sugar to perfectly sweeten the recipe.
  • Lemon zest: For freshness and hint of citrus flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds warmth.
  • Olive oil: Use a light olive oil and you will not detect an olive oil taste. This is what keeps the cake moist for days. You could use an equal amount of butter, although it might not be quite as moist.
  • Grapes: When baked, the grapes soften and add a light and sweet flavor.
Bowls with grapes, eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour and milk.

How to make this recipe

This is one of the easiest cake recipes! You don’t even need an electric mixer! The hardest part is removing the stem from the grapes, then slice any larger ones, stir everything together and bake. Here’s the simple process:

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients: Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Stir together wet ingredients: Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl to combine. Add oil; whisk to blend. 
  1. Combine dry and wet ingredients: Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients, and stir to combine.
  2. Add grapes: Toss about 1 1/2 cups of the grapes with about 1/2 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl until well coated. Gently stir grapes into batter.
  1. Bake: Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter remaining grapes over the cake. Gently push them partially into the cake. Finish with a sprinkle of about 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, if you’d like. Continue to bake until top and sides are golden brown and cake springs back when pressed, 25-30 minutes longer.
  1. Cool and serve: When done, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Small squares of grape cake near a small bowl with honey.

Expert tips

This grape cake recipe is really straight-forward and easy to make, but here are a few tips so it’s perfect!

  • Follow the recipe: For best results, follow the recipe and use the exact ingredients listed in the recipe card.
  • Correct measuring: To ensure the correct amount of flour is being used, whisk the flour, then spoon it into a dry measuring cup and without shaking the cup, level off the top with a straight edge.
  • Do not over-mix the batter: Over-mixing the batter can result in a dry, tough cake. Here’s more info on over mixing and why it should be avoided.
  • A sprinkle of sugar before baking: It’s optional, but for extra texture and crunch, top the cake with coarse sugar before baking.
  • Leftovers: If you’re enjoying this the next day, pop it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. It will taste like it was freshly baked.

Frequently asked questions

Can you bake with grapes?

Yes, it adds the most delicious sweetness to each bite of this cake! The small varieties work best because they have a lower water content than the larger ones, which could make your batter too wet. You can use them exactly how you would use blueberries.

What can I do with leftover grapes?

If you have a bunch of leftover grapes, you can remove them from their stem and freeze them in an airtight container for a delicious snack. They are surprisingly delicious eaten straight out of the freezer! Leftover grapes are also good when cut in half and used in salads. Small leftover grapes are great for baking.

How to tell when grape cake is done?

To ensure that your cake is cooked perfectly, check the edges of the cake, they should slightly pull away from the side of the pan. Check the color, this cake should be a light golden brown on top. A knife or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. The internal temperature should be around 210°F.

Variations

Here are some ideas on how you can change up this grape cornmeal cake recipe! 

  • More lemon flavor: Add a tiny bit of lemon extract to the wet ingredients to give it some extra zing! 
  • Citrus zest: Instead of using lemon zest, try orange zest for more of an orange flavor. 
  • Add some crunch: The addition of a nutty crunch would be delicious. You can add about 3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
  • Use a different fruit: Feel free to swap the grapes for another favorite fruit. Blueberries, chopped strawberries, raspberries or even chopped peaches would be incredible!
  • Add a glaze: Mix 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons milk. Mix until smooth and drizzle over the cooled cake.

Ways to serve

Once you discover how easy it is to make grape cake, you will want to bake it for every occasion. This is a fun treat to share at brunch, eat for breakfast, take to potlucks or enjoy during the holidays. It is unique and tastes amazing. 

No matter how you serve it, you’re sure to enjoy it so much!

Storage recommendations

  • Storing leftovers: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, store in the fridge for up to about 5 days.
  • To freeze: Stored properly in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, you can freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before serving.
Two squares of cornmeal cake with grapes stacked.

If you try this recipe, leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Grape cake squares near a bowl of honey and purple grapes.
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Grape Cornmeal Cake

A simple, rustic grape cake recipe with all the depth of fresh grapes from baked into a delicate, lightly sweet cornmeal cake. A great dessert for any occasion!
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + more for grapes
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar*, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups grapes, stemmed, halved, divided

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl to combine. Add oil; whisk to blend. 
  • Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the wet ingredients, and stir to combine.
  • Toss about 1 1/2 cups of the grapes with about 1/2 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl until well coated. Gently stir grapes into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter remaining grapes over cake. Gently push them partially into the cake. Finish with a sprinkle of about 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (optional). Continue to bake until top and sides are golden brown and cake springs back when pressed, 25-30 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

*Regular granulated sugar will also work.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or the fridge for up to about 5 days.
Serving: 1piece, Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 31.9g, Protein: 3.2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 41.1mg, Sodium: 150.6mg, Potassium: 37.8mg, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugar: 18.6g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Vitamin C: 3.5mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 0.5mg

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