My Recipe Box

Grilled Polenta Cake with Cherry-Cassis Sauce

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Serves 8

  • by Joanne Weir from Fine Cooking
    Issue 105

Grilling this pound cake may sound odd, but it’s definitely worth it—the cake gets a toasty texture that contrasts nicely with the soft whipped cream and bold cherry sauce. (You can also use a grill pan, broiler, or toaster oven.)

For the cake
  • 4-1/4 oz. (8-1/2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-3/8 oz. (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the cherry sauce
  • 6 cups fresh sweet or sour cherries (about 2 lb.), pitted and halved
  • 3 to 5 Tbs. granulated sugar; more to taste
  • 3 Tbs. cassis
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground coarse black pepper (optional)
For serving
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar; more for dusting
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8-1/2x4-1/2-inch loaf pan with 1/2 Tbs. of the butter.

Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt through a medium-mesh sieve. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 8 Tbs. butter and the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. With the mixer running on medium speed, very slowly add the egg mixture to the butter a little at a time, until the eggs are completely incorporated. With a spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated (don’t overmix).

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, smooth the surface, and bake until a skewer grilled polenta cake with cherry-cassis sauce inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the edges, remove the cake from the pan, and cool completely.

Make the sauce

Put 4 cups of the cherries in a medium bowl and set aside. In a blender or food processor, purée the remaining 2 cups cherries, sugar (3 Tbs. for sweet cherries; 5 Tbs. for sour), and cassis until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Add the lemon juice and pepper (if using), and then toss the cherry sauce with the reserved cherries. Add more sugar to taste.

Serve the cake

In a bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the 2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar and mix just to combine. Don’t overwhip. Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill fire. Cut the pound cake into 3/4-inch slices. Brush each side with the butter. Grill the pound cake until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Put one piece of pound cake on each plate. Top with the cherry sauce and a dollop of the cream and dust with more confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 560; Fat (g): 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): 18; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 68; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 140; Cholesterol (mg): 240; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

What is with the oven? This is billed as a cake cooked on your grill. Going to try it on the grill (start to finish) to see how it works. Sandy

This is sooooooo good. Worth the effort.

Everyone I served this to loved it! The cake had an interesting flavour from the cornmeal, and it created a different; yet delicious taste with the cooler cherries and whipped cream.

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