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Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme

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Serves 10

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 123

Fresh thyme in both the cake and the blueberries adds savory herbal notes to this not-too-sweet dessert. Serve with sweetened whipped cream, if you like.

For the blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch kosher salt
For the cake
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
  • 6-2/3 oz. (1-2/3 cups) cake flour; more for the pan
  • 1/3 cup polenta (cornmeal)
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the blueberries

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, thyme, and 2 Tbs. water. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the blueberries, lemon zest, and salt. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens slightly and the berries are warm but most are still whole, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, thyme, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix briefly to combine. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour gradually until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, then tap the pan on the counter to pop any large air bubbles. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few small, moist crumbs attached, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. (If the top starts to get too dark, lay a piece of foil loosely over the cake.) Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with the blueberries.

Make Ahead Tips

The blueberries in their syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 1 day; the thyme flavor will become more intense. Reheat gently just before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 440, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 190, Saturated Fat (g): 13, Protein (g): 6, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6, Carbohydrates (mg): 56, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 75, Cholesterol (g): 145, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

The polenta and thyme gave pound cake a nice refreshing flavor. The blueberry sauce, attractive and a positive note.

1. Tastes great. 2. Easy to make. 3. Can be made ahead. 4. The whole family loved it. The only drawback is that you need to pre-think the making of this dessert and bring butter and eggs to room temp. Other than that, a perfect recipe!

Loved it! Couldn't find cake flour in my local supermarket, and I didn't have the time to search for it elsewhere, so I used what I had on hand: Unbleached white flour. I had almond flour as well, so, wanting to try the almond flour I used that along with the other called for ingredients. It was delicious. So dense and flavorful. Great toasted also!

The Collage Group of Women Artists for whom I made this raved about it. I found it easy to prepare and it sliced beautifully. I did add some grated lemon peel to the cake as well as the lemon peel in the sauce. I prefer desserts a bit more tart. It is a keeper; I have already downloaded into my recipe file.

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