Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

As I started to write this post I realized that not everyone would be familiar with polenta, or realize that you could actually use it in a cake. Polenta, a ground cornmeal which can be white or yellow in color, has its origins in Italy. This humble “peasant” food has been a staple of Italian cooking for hundreds, and hundreds of years. And need I remind you that the best food comes from Italy.

This “Mama” is a lover of comfort food and rustic desserts, and that’s exactly what this Polenta Cake is…rustic. It’s simple and straight forward. It’s not overly sweet, and almost gritty in texture, and that’s what I love about it. Imagine if you will that you’re sitting in the hills of Tuscany under an olive tree having a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, olives and wine. This Polenta Cake would be the perfect ending to that meal. I like to top mine with a huge dollop of freshly made whipped cream and my homemade strawberry sauce. As we head into the summer months, I find myself serving this dish quite often at my backyard barbeques’.

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

From Women’s Health Magazine

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup fine polenta 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of one whole lemon
  • zest of one whole orange
  • strawberry sauce and whipped cream garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center position. Melt some butter, and using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of the pan and then dust the pan with some almond flour. Tap out the excess.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy for about two minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the applesauce, and beat just until ingredients are incorporated.
  3.   In another bowl, combine the flour, polenta and baking powder. Add the flour mixture along with the orange and lemon zest to the bowl on the electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed just until ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. I used a small off-set spatula to spread it evenly in the pan. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. I topped this cake (as you can see) with freshly whipped cream and a fresh strawberry sauce once the cake was completely cooled.
Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Fresh Strawberry Sauce 

  • 4 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice into a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  3. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the berries have softened. Transfer to a bowl and chill. If there’s too much liquid in the mixture, then just spoon some off.
Polenta Cake hot out of the oven

Polenta Cake hot out of the oven

Recipe: Easy