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Cook the Book

Cook the Book: Polenta Pound Cake

I love anything that involves cornmeal—corn bread, corn muffins, corn fritters, and especially polenta. Fried, grilled, or served creamy, it doesn't even matter what it's served with; if it's on the menu I will order it. There is something so satisfying and comforting about the slight corny sweetness and its faint toothsome crunch.

As a lover of all things polenta-related, I was thrilled to see my favorite starch incorporated into a dessert. This recipe for Polenta Pound Cake from Bottega Favorita is the base for Frank Stitt's rustic tiramisu served at his restaurant, it would also be great with whipped cream and strawberries for an Italian strawberry short cake.

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Cook the Book: Polenta Pound Cake

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About This Recipe

Yield:12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 1/2-by-3-inch round cake pan, then dust with a little cornmeal. Set aside.

  2. 2

    Sift the flour and baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside.

  3. 3

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl and wipe out the mixer bowl.

  4. 4

    Add the butter, sugar, and lemon zest to the mixer bowl and beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 10 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Add the cornmeal and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream, staring and ending with flour. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

  5. 5

    Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer stuck into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on the rack.

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