Monday, March 16, 2009

Citrus Glazed Polenta Cake from Dolce Italiano

Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano is by far my favorite cookbook for desserts. Everything I've made from it has truly been delicious. One of the things I really like about this book is the detailed description given of each dessert. It really helps give you a better idea of the finished product.

So when I was asked to come up with a dessert for a dinner party this past weekend of course it was Dolce Italiano I turned to. Flipping through I came across the Citrus Glazed Polenta Cake and decided to give it a try. The citrus flavors in this cake really stood out. The book suggests serving it with espresso cinnamon gelato, which I thought was a good call. Although, I enjoyed both on their own the combination of flavors in the cake and gelato were incredible.

The cake was pretty easy to make once I got past the whole debate on whether to use corn meal or corn flour for the "fine" polenta. I went with the corn meal and it turned out perfect.

Citrus Glazed Polenta Cake (adapted from Dolce Italiano)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
3/4 cup fine polenta
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat over to 325 degrees and position a rack in the center. Lightly grease a 9" springform pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray, dust the pan with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.

Grate the zest from the lemon, lime, and orange, setting the zests aside for the cake batter and reserving the fruit for the glaze.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and granulated sugar together on med-high speed until they are pale yellow and have tripled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in reserved citrus zests.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the olive oil to the egg mixture; begin with one third of the dry ingredients, then add half the oil, followed by another third of the dry ingredients, beating only until each addition is incorporated. Stop the mixer and briefly scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the remaining olive oil, followed by the last third of the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating it 180 degrees halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

The cake is down when it springs back lightly when touched and pulls away from the sides of the pan, and when a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 12 to 15 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: Sift 2 cups confectioners' sugar into a large bowl. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from each of the reserved citrus fruits. Add the citrus juices to the bowl and whisk until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick, add a few drops and whisk until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick, add a few drops of water until it falls easily from a spoon. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow it to set until it is completely dry.

Carefully remove the bottom of the springform pan with an offset spatula and transfer the cake to a serving plate. If desired, dust the cake with additional confectioner's sugar before serving. Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and served the following the day.


  1. The cake looks beautiful! I've always wanted to make an olive oil cake. I should check out that cookbook, it sounds like a winner.

  2. Now THAT is a gorgeous cake! Better than a bakery! One of these days we need to get together and have a bake fest!

  3. Your cake looks perfect and so delicious! I am in love with the flavors-in the cake and the gelato. They sound heavenly.

  4. This is one of my favorite cakes of allllllll time.
    I am making Gina's almond cake tonight, which is very similar in a springform pan.
    She and Nick Malgieri are my favorite bakers. Their books are a must have.
    Bring me a slice on your way to NYC!

  5. I love this cookbook, and was thinking about making her ricotta pound cake. I might have to change my mind and switch to this! This looks terrific Theresa!

  6. This looks amazing. I may give it a try since I just recently tried polenta in a savory way for the first time. Now it's time for sweet :)

  7. Wow, that looks amazing. I love how it has all that different citrus flavor.

  8. I love polenta (and corn in general) in all of its various shapes and forms. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  9. This looks fabulous. I love citrus desserts. I hope you are able to participate in my Grandma's Recipe event--thanks for the comment.

  10. What a perfect summer dessert. It doesn't look too heavy so you wouldn't feel horrible or guilty after eating it!

  11. This looks so good! Polenta is one of my favorite things and using it in a cake sounds unusual and fun. With that gelato... even better. I just have to try it!

  12. Thanks for posting this, I'll have to try it! Have you tried Gina's almond cake? I've heard about it but don't have the recipe...
    Buon Pasqua!!