Sweet Corn Cakes with Tarragon and Cheese

Last week at the farmer's market I bought the last of the season's sweet corn. It was a bittersweet day, sweet corn season is one of my absolute favorites. But what to do with these last precious ears of corn? I decided that instead of grilling them up and throwing into my weekly meal prep that I would try something different and bake with them. I had seen this recipe for sweet corn cakes in the Ottolenghi cookbook Nopi a while back and thought they sounded so yummy, but would really want to use fresh, in season sweet corn to try it out. Well, this was my last chance so I dove right in. 

I only bought a couple ears of corn so had to make half the recipe, but that works out okay for me since I'm the only one at home. I did end up altering the spices and flavoring a little bit based on my preferences and what I had at home. I have no doubt the recipe as written is amazing, but my little changes worked well for me and I thought the end product turned out amazing! The smell of these little cakes baking was absolutely wonderful, cheesy, buttery and herb-y! A fitting end to the sweet corn season for another year.  

Since I made these to eat for breakfast instead of as a side to a meal I decided to use a little less onion and garlic. And while I did alter some of the spices I think that the tarragon is a must! A unique but wonderful flavor. Sadly I didn't have any feta which would have been amazing, but did have some local raclette style cheese from the farmer's market that I knew would be delicious so used that instead. Thanks to Hickory Knoll Farm for the wonderful cheese; it was perfect! Cheesy, sweet, savory and incredibly tender. The texture is very moist and almost souffle-like. For something a little different than the traditional corn muffin, give these little corn cakes a try and be ready to be amazed! This is really truly "corn bread". 


Sweet Corn Cakes with Tarragon and Cheese
Adapted from Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi

  • 2 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • Raclette, feta or another favorite cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the 6 muffin tins very well with butter and line with squares of baking parchment, buttering the parchment as well. 

Lay the corn cobs flat on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to shave off the kernels – you should have about 250 grams total (I used 2 large ears and I had quite a bit more than 250 grams, I only ended up using about 3/4 of the kernels). 

Discard the cob and transfer the kernels to a food processor, along with the onion and garlic. Pulse for 3–4 seconds, until the mixture is roughly processed but has not turned to a wet purée

Add the fennel seeds, cumin, coriander, sumac, tarragon, baking powder, butter and egg yolk, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a very good grind of black pepper. Blitz a few more times, to combine – some of the corn kernels will still be whole – then transfer to a medium bowl. Fold the flour in by hand and set aside

Place the egg white in a separate small bowl and whisk to form firm peaks. Fold a third of the whites gently into the corn mixture. Once it has incorporated, continue with the next third and then the next

Once fully incorporated, divide the mixture between the muffin tin and insert a chunk of cheese into the center of each. Push it halfway down the corn mixture – the cakes will puff up around the cheese when they cook

Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are golden and fluffy. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before lifting them out of the tray