Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Berry Olive Oil Polenta Cake

I love having dinner parties because it gives me an excuse to make dessert. If I haven't mentioned it before, my boyfriend claims to not like sweets. I gently overlook this pronouncement when I watch him dig into a bag of black licorice or have a cookie -- or two -- after dinner. We all have our little demons we fight.

My demon is cake. Thank goodness, really, that there isn't another sweet lover in this house cause there would be cakes and icing galore in our little kitchen. It's better that I make the cake when I know his mother is coming over. She'll ohh and ahh and happily accept a chunk wrapped in foil to take home with her.

This cake recipe is a keeper, if you can bear to give up that 3/4 cup of olive oil and a pound of fresh berries. Do the math, it isn't an inexpensive cake. But it is a good one. It is off sweet, which I love, which means it might be just as good for breakfast, tea, or in the middle of the night when you stayed up so late after drinking a bit too much wine and watching a very funny movie you need a little snack before bed. Then it really hits the spot.

Berry Olive Oil Polenta Cake
Based on a recipe by Robert Reynolds and Vitaly Paley. They made theirs with a bunch of cherries. I was drawn to the big juicy blackberries... Whatever calls to you, but use a bunch of them!

3 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup polenta or cornmeal
2 and 1/2 cups fresh cherries, about 1 pound, pitted and halved
Creme fraiche for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a ten inch round cake pan with nonstick vegetable spray, or lightly coat with butter or oil.
Combine eggs and sugar. Beat on medium high speed until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture, along with polenta. Mix until combined.
Pour two thirds of batter into prepared pan and completely cover it with cherries. Spoon remaining batter over berries, allowing fruit to peek through in spots. Bake until top and edges are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about an hour to one hour and fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for ten minutes. Remove from cake pan and cool.
Serve with a scoop of creme fraiche.


Roger said...

A really good looking cake. I couldn't help but want to check it out after your recipe turned up in my Google Alerts for olive oil. I produce two blogs for California Olive Ranch and we've just begun writing about the topic of baking and extra virgin olive oil:

Thanks for the great looking cake recipe.

Christina said...


i left you an answer below your post on my blog. Beautiful site by the way. love the polenta cake!


Maggie said...

This sounds so delicious! There's an olive oil cake at a coffee shop down the street that everyone in the neighborhood seems to love—I am definitely bookmarking this one!