Thursday, March 08, 2007

Polenta and Ricotta Cake

It does seem to be a mantra of mine - find new ways to use Polenta and this recipe found in the Penguin Cake Bible seems to be a most excellent way to satisfy this quest.

It's a cake but it doesn't use any eggs...or milk. What it does use is ricotta. The cake isn't the most handsome thing that will come out of your oven, the top with be cracked and no amount of subtle lighting will change that. However, it will be one of the tastiest.

The polenta forms a wonderful crust and gives the cake such a unique texture and then the ricotta brings in a lightness that comes as a total surprise. It's wonderfully moist and simple to make. I had my reservations but the proof, as they might say, is in the cake!


Polenta and Ricotta Cake
[Makes 1x20cm/8 inch square]

150 grams sultanas [or raisins]
50 grams fresh pistachios [optional - I added them because I had them]
200 grams polenta [I used fine polenta though you can use coarse]
250 grams self-raising flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
250 grams caster sugar
250 grams ricotta
100 grams melted butter
175ml warm water

Preheat the oven to 170°C/335°F. Use a baking tin with a removable base to make it easier to un-mould the cake.

Place the sultanas into a bowl and pour over with boiling water. Allow to steep. Drain when cold and set aside.

Sift the self-raising flour with the baking powder and place into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the polenta and stir to mix through. Next add the ricotta, melted butter and water. Beat until well combined. Add the drained sultanas and pistachios and beat until just stirred through.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, smoothing out the top. Bake for 60-90 minutes or until cooked through.

Let it sit in the tin for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.


Just perfect with a cup of coffee or tea or a thick slice slipped in the lunch box.

The original recipe calls for steeping the fruit in brandy - just heat up 3 tablespoons of brandy in a saucepan with the sultanas/raisins for 3-4 minutes until they plump up. Then set aside to cool.

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  1. Hey Haalo,
    Absolutely stunning new look for your blog...i did like the earlier version too, but this one sure looks like a pro...
    Coming here after a long time, shall remember to put you in bookmarks...
    Have a lovely weekend

  2. Haalo,

    This cake looks perfect! I'm a sucker for recipes that call for either cornmeal/polenta and ricotta.
    The contrast of colors between pistachios and raisins is great.
    I will give this a try!

  3. Haalo, this is absolutely yummy. Your beautiful polenta cake reminds me that I should use more polenta. BTW, I made your polenta chips some time back, and they were very nice. :)

  4. Truly delicious.

  5. Yet another irresistible recipe. How do you do it?

    Did you use instant polenta? Would it matter I wonder?

  6. Thanks Nandita - that's very nice of you. Glad you like the new look though I do still miss the old style.

    Thanks Patricia - I saw you just did a cornmeal cake too, I do hope you try it I'm sure you will love this.

    Thanks Anh - good to hear you enjoyed the polenta chips!

    Thanks KitchenHand

    Thanks Pietro - I probably wouldn't use instant polenta as it is dehydrated polenta rather than pure cornmeal, which is the ingredient that is used in this recipe. You might find that it reacts differently to the water content - might be something to experiment with. I used a fine polenta - it might also be labelled fine cornmeal.

  7. Mmm.. the cake looks great! Can't believe there aren't any eggs in it. I don't think I've ever baked an eggless cake before, so can't wait to try it :)

  8. That is gorgeous! The bright green of the raw pistachios is simply amazing!

  9. Thanks Y - hope you enjoy the cake - it keeps really well too which was quite surprising, stayed lovely and moist.

    Thanks Ellie - you'll need to get those fresh pistachios, there's probably only a few weeks left in the season.

  10. Hi Haalo, Cakes with Ricotta - Yummy! the recipe has been written with a lot of precision and at the same time there is a certain ease in making the cake. The image is also great. One is tempted to immediately have it at tea time. My 13 year old neighbour thinks she can try this out!!!

  11. Thanks Pritya - perfect for tea time and your 13 year old neighbour shouldn't have problem making this cake. Hope you all enjoy it!

  12. I tried this recipe and it turned out pretty good. I used coarse polenta so the cake was lil crunchy. All my raisin went to the bottom of the cake. ;-) It was very simple and easy to make. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Hi Sam - pity about the raisins - maybe use a little less liquid so the mixture is a bit thicker might help to keep the raisins suspended through the cake. Thanks for letting me know how it turned out!


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