Friday, February 18, 2011

Polenta Cake with Citrus Glaze

I bought a book for this cake. Specifically, Gina De Palma's Dolce Italiano. When I decide on a purhase of yet another cookbook, I randomly open it and see if I would cook the first recipe I see. This Polenta Cake with Citrus glaze was the random recipe and it became my new obsession.
I came late to polenta. My mother had "an unfortunate experience with polenta" in her life and refused to make it. It is one of the few Italian dishes I had to discover on my own. She has yet to confide me in me regarding her harrowing polenta experience but when I told her I was making a polenta cake for the family Valentine's Day Dinner she did assure me that she "got over it." And as she happily had her slice, I was relieved to see that she did.

On cue, the sun came out in approval of baking a bright, sun-shiney cake. Texture - it can make or break a dish. I had a long-lived aversion to cooked cauliflower because of texture. I adore shrimp but if it comes to me all mushy - I shudder. My daughter won't eat fresh tomatoes (sacrilege!) because of the texture. Do you have foods you avoid because of their texture? I confess, I was mesmerized by the anticipation of a coarse, citrus-studded cake. Oh - and I was enamoured by the glaze.

I made a lot of glaze. A LOT. And I poured in on. One might say I frosted the cake with the glaze. The cake is not sweet - almost has a quick-bread crumb to it. But all that citrus brightened our winter's eve.The polenta cake is equally good with your morning coffee or an evening glass of "spirits." If it had lasted until morning, I would have toasted it.

Polenta Cake Ingredients
1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (more for dusting the pan)
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
3/4 cup instant or fine polenta
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups confectioner's sugar (and juices from zested fruit)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform plan and dust with flour.
  3. Grate the zests of the lemon, lime and orange and put in a small bowl.
  4. Set aside the fruits for the glaze.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar together on medium high speed until they are pale yellow and have tripled in volume 3-4 minutes. (You could also use electric hand beaters.)
  7. Beat in the zests.
  8. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the olive oil to the sugar-egg mixture. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then half the olive oil, the second-third of dry ingredients, last half of olive oil and last 1/3 of the dry. Beat only until each addition is incorprated. Scrape down the sides.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes (check at 20 minutes - this cake will dry out). Rotate it halfway during the baking time.
  10. The cake is done when it pulls away from the pan and springs back lightly when touched. Cool in pan 15 minutes, carefully remove sides of pan and let cool completely.

Gina has you sift 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar in a large bowl and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from each fruit and whisk until smooth. If dry, she suggests adding a little water - 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the desired constency. And then of course you really should just drizzle the glaze over the cake. Much prettier.
I squeezed all the juices out of the citrus fruits, whisked them with the sugar, made the mistake of tasting it, squealed a happy squeak and then poured it on.

If desired: With a knife or spatula, carefully remove the bottom of the springform pan to move the cake onto a serving platter. You may also dust with confectioner's sugar (I didn't - I had already poured enough glaze on the hapless cake!)
Leftover cake can be wraped in plastic and kept at room temperature for the next day. Enjoy! And there's one more day to enter the CSN Give-away if you are so inclined. Details are here.
Have you noticed that since I have been "mindfully eating" for three months I have posted more posts about cake?


Miri Leigh said...

This cake looks wonderful and the bright color really brings it to life. Thanks for sharing!

kitchenarian said...

This looks delicious. I have heard of polenta cake, but have never made one before. This I must try. Thanks for the recipe.

Island Vittles said...

The last polenta cake I had was made by my chef instructor in culinary school -- it didn't have this cool glaze on it though -- I liked his, but I think I might love this! Theresa

Savoring Italy said...

I love polenta and I also love baking with cornmeal. Great cormeal cake and LOVE the glaze:)Thank you for your sweet words for me today. Happy weekend, Claudia!

My Little Space said...

Good day, Claudia! Hope you're doing well. Oh my, I am loving the citrus glazing. Perhaps, it's my favourite. And your polenta texture looks really fluffy unlike some of it. Bookmarked this recipe for later use. Thank you so mcuh. Hope you're having awonderful weekend.

tasteofbeirut said...

Oh Claudia, you reminded me of the things my mom would not have at home that I loved, like cardamom or mahlab. I adore polenta and would adore your cake, with all the citrus and the olive oil. I would eat it for breakfast, too. I am going to make it, I just love crunch in a cake and the tang of citrus.

Kim - Liv Life said...

I do the same thing with cookbooks!! If the first recipe appeals to me I'll look further, if not, it goes right back on the shelf.
As for texture, I have lots of texture issues. Eggnog... can't do it. Tomatoes, couldn't do those till just a year or two ago. Sushi... ugh.. that raw fish is just plain yucky!
But, the texture of this cake I would love!

Jeannie said...

I love the idea of pouring in the glaze too, that last photo looks very inviting!

Mister Meatball said...

As the Monster said,

Polenta. Good.

Glaze. Also good.

(p.s., my very first blog post was a polenta dish i insist you try. a family recipe (weird one) that i can't find anywhere else, and i've tried!

Angie's Recipes said...

This reminds me that I haven't had polenta food for a LONG while. The citrus cake looks really moist and delicious with pleasant tangy icing!

Jill Colonna said...

This is intriguing, Claudia. Sounds so different, delicious and love the fact that it's not too sweet - and THAT double glazing (sorry, terrible sense of humour) ;-)
Now I wonder what was so terrible with the polenta experience. Dying to know!
Enjoy your weekend x

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Wow this must be a much lighter corn bread, never thought about using polenta in a cake, then with that citrus it has to be the best tasting for sure! Thats quite a mystery for you why your mom doesnt like polenta, maybe they forced her to eat husband hates meat sauce with rigitoni and he's 100% sicilian, thats was why they forced him to eat that and now he like pasta with butter cheese and black pepper. Thank goodness my sons come over often to devore that food! Well this cake is truly a wonderful alternative, I have to try this one!

Anne said...

I love to look at a cookbook, and get all the ingredients and make it. It is so wonderful that my husband is game to try anything that I make. Thank you for sharing all your recipes.

Kate @ said...

Now you have me thinking - what could have gone wrong with your mom's polenta so I know to avoid the mishap because we love polenta! :)
I have had something very similar to that cake and it was absolutely amazing... I am so glad that you wrote up the recipe because I will give this a go real soon.

Jen_from_NJ said...

What a delicious looking cake! I agree - texture is so important. The citrus and polenta is a great combination. The color is pretty too!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Claudia, I always think about cake! It's so good you can eat sweets and still lose weight ...I don't have that metabolism any longer :(

My friend came home from California this week with a bag of meyer lemons for me, so I will have to try this recipe! It looks like sunshine on the plare!

OysterCulture said...

How funny, I bought that cookbook for that recipe as well, polenta and citrus sounds like a match made in heaven

Arlene Delloro said...

I think this must be the most incredible cake! I made a polenta cake from a Giada D recipe, but this one with lemon. Oh, baby!

That Girl said...

I can't handle the texture of asparagus, so I know what you mean. I also know that a bright sunny cake like this could definitely be useful right now as I look out onto a grey rainy day.

Chef Dennis Littley said...

I have never been to big on polenta, but as a cake it sounds delicious!
the glaze is a wonderful topping for that lovely cake!
and you can't go wrong with cakes, so keep baking!

Unknown said...

Love the idea of using polenta in a sweet cake. The glaze looks delicious--I don't blame you for pouring as much as you could over the cake. There is no such thing as going overboard with something that tastes so good! :)

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

If I was mindfully eating, probably the only thing on my mind would be cake. I've never had polenta cake and I love all the glaze on yours. Something I would love to try. Hoping you are having a wonderful weekend.

Sandra said...

I have to try this!!! Looks so amazing and I love polenta, but never tried as a cake..I think that I will love it!:)

1-2punch said...

My nana made polenta, I always viewed as a tummy filler, until now!! This looks divine. Thanks for the post. so happy to see yet another Italian blogger on board.

Beth said...

I haven't baked with polenta, but this would be a good place to start. Seeing this cake would have made me buy the cookbook too!

Heather S-G said...

Oh my goodness...this looks totally wonderful! I made a polenta cake once and couldn't stop eating it...the texture was so fantastic. I imagine the citrus flavors and the glaze would leave me dazzled here!

Anna's Table said...

Claudia, It's funny that in our family we grew up eating polenta, but never had it in cake form. Maybe that is one of the reasons I love cornbread which I've always associated with the food of the southern States. I'm already in love with this recipe. I love the added bonus that it is made with oil which is much healthier. Definitely going to give this a try. Thanks.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your cake has such an interesting texture that I know I would love it. That glaze takes it to a whole nother level. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

That cake looks worth buying a whole cookbook for! I love citrus flavorings in anything. I've never made anything sweet with polenta -- this is very intriguing. And you're right about the texture. Looks great.
My husband doesn't like the texture of fresh tomatoes either (And it is a sacrilege!) Me? I think I'm not texture (or food!) challenged in any way!

Torviewtoronto said...

love the flavours of this polenta cake
I like the new layout

Anna Johnston said...

I've never made a polenta cake so this really has caught my eye. I'm a bit like your mother was, I detested polenta the first time I tried it, but luckily got to try it again sometime later & much to my surprise, I'm a huge fan now. Thanks for sharing this one Claudia. :)

Angela said...

That looks wonderful. I think that if you mother won't share her harrowing experience with you, you should write a play about what might have happened.

Monet said...

Smile. My mother didn't like polenta either...but maybe I can convince her otherwise with this cake. I like that it isn't too sweet...and I can see it being perfect for breakfast or dessert. Thank you for sharing tonight! I hope you have a great Monday, my friend.


Oooo, polenta cake! Brilliant idea. I don't think I've ever tried that! I've had cornmeal cakes, but I bet this would have a different texture. Will try!

Barbara said...

Oh, yes, I will take a slice of this cake full of sunshine, Claudia. I love citrus in cakes, and polenta, so this is on my "must-bake" list. I am home today and was thinking of making polenta cupcakes to take to work tomorrow; seeing your cake has convinced me to get baking!
(P.S. I used to have an aversion to fresh tomatoes, too, until I met my husband-to-be in college. His sandwiches always tasted better than mine because of the fresh tomato slices. I grew to love them - and him!)

Anonymous said...

A delightful & amazingly looking polenta cake & that glaze looks fab too!

Sorry that I havene't been here lately but my husband & I just baught our dream house!

I recently moved my blog to Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!

Reeni said...

I am in love with this cake Claudia! All those citrus flavors in it - like a ray of sunshine! I have had a polenta and olive oil cake saved forever. This is inspiring me, I want to go make it right now!

Anonymous said...

A very unique cake with polenta! I love all that delicious citrus glaze on top, excellent!

FOODESSA said...

When mozzarella cheese is too body strange is that?

Alright...the cake...the book and polenta...all of which I'd have long to say about it but I'll spare you for today ;o)

Glad to read that your experience with this cake was to your pleasure ;)

I do love lemony glazed desserts...mummm.

Flavourful wishes,

Stevie said...

I once ate jellyfish as an appetizer at a restaurant in Shanghai while on a tour of China. That was repulsive because of the texture though the taste itself was fine.

Your polenta cake with glaze looks stunning. I adore lemon in baked things. This is a recipe that I would make often.