Desserts in the summer should be delightful. Fresh and vibrant. I think you get a little more leeway with summer desserts…it can be an unexpected little something to try…so serious expectations. So I say, run with it. Try something new, be a little different and surprising! Polenta cake fits the bill. Think of this as somewhere in between corn bread and a citrus cake.
(Although I did not get the post up right on time, this cake was inspired by the Daring Cooks August Challenge…credit where credit is due!)
Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!
Original recipe can be found here at from the Bon Appetit website and is also on epicurious!
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup medium-fine polenta or organic cornmeal (such as Bob’s Red Mill)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange peel
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup whole-milk greek yogurt
3 plums, sliced with pits removed
½ pint blackberries
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan. (I used a mini bundt pan and a quarter size loaf pan which seemed to hold all the batter.) Dust pan with flour; tap out excess.
Whisk 1 1/4 cups flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
I used Golden Pheasant Polenta and the texture was perfect – coarse enough to notice but not so much that it ruined the texture of the cake batter!
Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with yogurt in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Spread batter evenly in pan.Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes (my mini pans took less time…I started them with 35 minutes and tested every few minutes after).
In the meantime, prepare the plums and blackberries so they have enough time to macerate.
Halve the plums (I used 3) and remove the pit and then slice somewhat thinly. Add in a handful of blackberries and sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.
Toss gently and let sit for at least an hour.
Transfer to rack; cool in pan 15 minutes.
Run knife around cake edges to loosen. Invert cake onto rack, then invert again on rack (top side up). Cool completely.
Cut cake crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; serve with sugared plums and blackberries.
And for a little extra ummmpffff…top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This cake was delicious the next morning, sliced, toasted and spread with just a bit of butter. I may have eaten it for a week straight this way!