Serious Eats: Recipes

David Lebovitz's Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

Ever since my first batch of olive oil gelato was churned in my ice cream maker I've had olive oil-based desserts on the brain. This Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz was next on my list.

Olive oil, rosemary, and polenta are natural partners in, say, a rosemary braised lamb shank served over creamy polenta, but aren't usually the ingredients in a post-dinner sweet. I've made plenty of polenta cakes and olive oil cakes in the past but never thought to use both in the same recipe, and the rosemary? Well, there was no question in my mind that it would be a happy addition.


Lebovitz's version is an eggy, moist, and light. The cake itself takes on a golden yellow hue from the eggs, polenta and olive oil, and the little minced pieces of rosemary speckle it with green-black flecks. In the tradition of Italian cakes, it's not overly sweet and would be the ideal accompaniment for a glass of Marsala or sherry to end a meal, or as a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Or you could go the all olive oil route by matching a slice of the Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary with a scoop of olive oil gelato, and finish it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and rosemary.

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Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary

- makes one 10-inch cake (10 to 12 servings) -

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz.

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