Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

April 29, 2008

polenta in pan

Ok. Let the litany of substitutions commence.

1) no 10 1/2 pan only 11

2) only turkish figs

3) not enough butter to butter pan or extra on top (pan covered in Pam)

4) no honey; subbed corn syrup (seemed like a similar consistency)

No idea how this is going to turn out… it’s in the oven right now… can you tell it’s 7:22 p.m. on posting day and i’m flying by the seat of my pants? Cake is in the oven… I’ll let you know how it turns out…

polenta out of pan

Got a nice edge to it, but it seems a little… oily.  Knife never came out clean even after 10 extra minutes.

polenta slice

overall… don’t think the substitutions worked quite right but it’s tasty… kinda like sweet grits…

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed

1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 c. ricotta

1/3 c. tepid water

¾ c. sugar

¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon, cut into bits and chilled

2 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.

Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.

Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.



  1. I greased my pan with Pam, too, and also left out the butter on top of the cake. It turned out beautifully. : ) Looking forward to hearing what you think of yours!

  2. LOL @ flying by seat of pants comment. Its all good. Can’t wait to see what you think!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  3. Mine sort of seemed a little oily, but I think that’s both the butter and moisture from the honey, too. Maybe. 🙂

  4. Good on you for having a go though! You made me laugh with all your substitutions! Hx

  5. I’m very curious about substituting corn syrup for honey. Was it not too sweet?

  6. way to make do with what you had on hand! 🙂

  7. Mari – it was very sweet. Any very much not good the next day. it got an almost jelly consistency. I do not recommend the corn syrup substitution unless you are going to eat it all when it is still a little warm.

  8. I used maple syrup as a substitute for the honey and it worked out really well. Yours looks good too!

  9. Hello, Cool Idea. I just made polenta a few days ago with Gorgonzola cheese and heavy cream. It was pretty darn good so if you have time come check it out and let me know what you think.


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