Polenta Cake with Grappa
Makes 6 servings This cake is dense and not too sweet, almost like a sweet cornbread. I like to use coarse polenta so that it also has an interesting texture, but if you have to use regular cornmeal, that works as well.

Ingredients

Polenta Cake 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 vanilla…

CIA FOODIES


Polenta Cake with Grappa, Berries, and Minted Mascarpone

Makes 6 servings This cake is dense and not too sweet, almost like a sweet cornbread. I like to use coarse polenta so that it also has an interesting texture, but if you have to use regular cornmeal, that works as well.

Ingredients

Polenta Cake
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, pod reserved for compote
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup coarse polenta or cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Grappa Berry Compote
  • 1/2 cup grappa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Reserved vanilla bean pod
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
Minted Mascarpone
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

Directions

  1. To make the polenta cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with butter or vegetable spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust with flour and tap out the excess flour.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and vanilla bean seeds until soft and fluffy. While still beating, add the sugar gradually until it is all incorporated. Add the whole eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating to incorporate before adding the next.
  3. In a bowl, combine the polenta or cornmeal, flour, and baking powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold them by hand into the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with the milk until combined. Be sure not to overmix or the cake will be tough.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and shake to level the top. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool, turn the cake out onto a plate or a piece of parchment paper. Cut into wedges to serve.
  6. To make the grappa berry compote: Combine the grappa and sugar in a sauté pan and bring to a boil. Tilt the pan away from you, so that the grappa catches fire and flames up (flambés) and cook until the flame goes out. Add the reserved vanilla bean pod. Add the blueberries then the blackberries. Increase the heat and cook until the syrup has reduced slightly and the berries have started to soften.
  7. Add the raspberries last and toss with the other berries and syrup. The compote is ready and should be served warm with the cake.
  8. To prepare the minted mascarpone: Combine the cheese, sugar, and mint and mix until smooth. Serve with the cake and berries.

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