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Polenta and Ricotta Cake [TWD]

Polenta & Ricotta CakeWhen I think of cake, I definitely think of flavors like chocolate, lemon and the like. But after learning to love polenta here in Peru (I will tell you the love story later this week!) I just knew before I even started out that I was going to love this cake.

I can say that none of the components are favorites for me. Polenta in pancakes or cakes provides and interesting crunch, ricotta in a cake sounds a bit strange and figs belong in newtons and not much else. But as I read through the recipe, I was sure it would be a winner for me and among my friends. I thought about scaling is down…quartering or fifthing recipes has been happening a lot in my kitchen. but I knew I would regret it with this one! I went for it, making the entire recipe and enjoying all of it. (Oh, I shared too!)

You may not especially love the ingredients as individual items, but I have a feeling that once you put them all together you will enjoy the cake more than you could have imagined!

Polenta and Ricotta Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Source: Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours


  • 8 dried figs, steeped in hot water then drained and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup of medium-grain polenta (Once I put them in the oven, I looked up “polenta bramata” and learned it meant coarse ground polenta! Oops!)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 260 grams of ricotta (I just used the whole package that I bought, so it may have been a bit more than I needed)
  • 1/2 cup of tepid water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 100 grams butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat to 325F. Butter a 10-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (I used 8 1/2-cup tartlet pans and 3 1-cup ramekins) and put it on a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the polenta, flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together with a hand mixer on low speed until very smooth (Mine never got really smooth). At medium speed, add the sugar, honey and vanilla and beat until light. Beat in the butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Then, add the dry ingredients, mixing on low only until they are fully incorporated to achieve a pourable batter (Mine wasn’t liquidy, but it was easily scoopable).
  4. Place a couple of tablespoons of the batter into the bottoms of the pans and scatter over the figs. Cover figs with the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary. (When I remembered that I should have put butter on top, I thought I was better off without it!)
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cakes should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

Polenta and Ricotta Cake is being served up for Tuesdays With Dorie. This weeks TWD recipe was chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker. Enjoy more Polenta and Ricotta Cake by visiting the blogroll at the Tuesdays With Dorie website.


40 Responses to “Polenta and Ricotta Cake [TWD]”

  1. I love your little cakes. Great idea!

    Posted by cheri | April 29, 2008, 7:26 am
  2. I agree at first read the recipe did not exactly appeal to me but with a little tinkering, i loved it! Your cakes look beautiful, so cute in mini form!

    Posted by LyB | April 29, 2008, 7:48 am
  3. I totally need to by little tartlet pans! Your cakes look great!

    Posted by Sarah | April 29, 2008, 8:20 am
  4. How adorable! I love the miniature cakes – with the fluted edges, no less. Really pretty!

    Posted by Jayne | April 29, 2008, 8:21 am
  5. Ah, I love the minis!

    Posted by rainbowbrown | April 29, 2008, 8:30 am
  6. So, so pretty! I love your little pans. They look like they were perfect for this.

    Posted by PheMom | April 29, 2008, 8:38 am
  7. What lovely little tarts! Much more of that crunchy, crusted honey. Good idea.

    Posted by Rebeca | April 29, 2008, 9:03 am
  8. the mini cakes look so cute! i’m not sure what the butter on top really added, yours look great without it :)

    Posted by kim | April 29, 2008, 9:11 am
  9. I totally dig your tartlet pans! Great job as always…Clara @ I♥food4thought

    Posted by CB | April 29, 2008, 9:27 am
  10. Very interesting recipe. Love your tartlet pans. Now I want some. Beautiful photos, as always!

    Posted by dobetter | April 29, 2008, 10:24 am
  11. This sounds so delicious… I’m glad you liked it because I read a few other bloggers who also made it for TWD and they didn’t really enjoy it. I just think this would be so good!

    Posted by Aran | April 29, 2008, 10:44 am
  12. Nice tartelet pans, great pics as always.Ulrike from Küchenlatein

    Posted by ostwestwind | April 29, 2008, 10:48 am
  13. You know, at first when I read the recipe, I didn’t think I would be a big fan, but the picture you have on top makes it look so tasty! I am imagining sweetened corn bread with figs? Did you use all the sugar and the honey? It sounds like it would come out quite sweet like that. Regardless, it looks yummy and I really like the little tartlet molds.

    Posted by Irene | April 29, 2008, 12:42 pm
  14. Oh, also, I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blogroll! I love your website :)

    Posted by Irene | April 29, 2008, 12:44 pm
  15. looks really good! i have never made polenta cake, and I will keep this recipe for future. thanks!

    Posted by farida | April 29, 2008, 1:21 pm
  16. Irene – Thank you so much for adding me to your blogroll, I am honored. The cake does not come out quite like cornbread because of the ricotta cheese. You could make it with or without the figs. I imagine golden raisins would be nice but I don’t think the fruit is necessary. Hope that helps! Oh, and instead of 3/4 cup of each the honey and sugar, I used 1/2 cup of each. I did not find it to be too sweet, I quite enjoyed it.

    Posted by Gretchen Noelle | April 29, 2008, 1:39 pm
  17. I’m with you… I think this one’s more than a sum of it’s parts. Great job!

    Posted by Dolores | April 29, 2008, 1:59 pm
  18. So wonderful when things come together and they’re better than alone. I happen to have tried several polenta/corn meal recipes and have really enjoyed the cakes made. I’ll have to try this one.

    Posted by MyKitchenInHalfCups | April 29, 2008, 2:38 pm
  19. Your little cakes look very nice!

    Posted by Hygeian Stew | April 29, 2008, 2:54 pm
  20. This recipe is definitely a great sounding way to get your fiber!

    Posted by Dana McCauley | April 29, 2008, 3:06 pm
  21. that is so pretty. i would love to try a savoury version.

    Posted by bee | April 29, 2008, 3:09 pm
  22. i’ll have to trust everyone, because the recipe as written just isn’t calling to be – the figs especially. the finished cakes are adorable though

    Posted by michelle @ TNS | April 29, 2008, 4:58 pm
  23. hehe…I think forgetting the butter on top happened alot with this one! I forgot it! I love your little tarts! so very cute and tasty looking!

    Posted by Heather | April 29, 2008, 5:11 pm
  24. they do say that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! glad you and your friends liked them–they made adorable minis!

    Posted by steph- whisk/spoon | April 29, 2008, 5:31 pm
  25. Awesome! I’m glad you liked it!

    Posted by Engineer Baker | April 29, 2008, 7:25 pm
  26. I agree. This cake is greater than the sum of its parts. :)I love your mini cakes.Juliusfrom Occasional Baker

    Posted by Julius | April 29, 2008, 8:31 pm
  27. Your cakes look so pretty, Gretchen! I especially like the little ones. Well done!

    Posted by StickyGooeyCreamyChewy | April 29, 2008, 9:21 pm
  28. Oooh, yours turned out amazing! Great job! I’m looking foward to hear about the love story between you and polenta!And thanks for your comment. So sweet from you to write in Spanish :)

    Posted by Isa | April 29, 2008, 10:01 pm
  29. I love your mini tartlet pans! Great job!

    Posted by Shari | April 29, 2008, 10:04 pm
  30. yours looks so nice and moist. love the mini tartlets!!

    Posted by mimi | April 29, 2008, 10:41 pm
  31. What lovely little tartlets! I’d love to try out this recipe, I’ve never used polenta before and these look like the perfect way to try it out. For the time being, I’ll just drool a bit more over the lovely pictures.Caramella

    Posted by Caramella Mou | April 30, 2008, 2:46 am
  32. I like the idea of tartlets! Jus the right portion size. Great job! I love polenta – my mom used to make it and now I make it in my home.

    Posted by Liliana | April 30, 2008, 7:26 am
  33. I forgot my butter too, but pulled the tart out of the oven right away and put the butter on top. But, I don’t think it really added much. I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one who forgets to do those last “before it goes in the oven” steps.

    Posted by annmartina | April 30, 2008, 8:22 am
  34. nice job. I just loved the tartelettes. That was my size of choice.

    Posted by Lori | April 30, 2008, 12:15 pm
  35. Adorable cakes! You were smart to bake the whole recipe; I quartered it and regretted this decision at first bite. In fact, I whipped up another half-recipe this morning!

    Posted by Shirlie | April 30, 2008, 2:06 pm
  36. Yeah! You made the entire recipe! I’m glad that you did and that you liked the cake. This recipe was definitely tasty, and it solidified Dorie’s genius in my opinion. I didn’t think these ingredients sounded appetizing individually either, but they came together nicely.

    Posted by Cecilia | April 30, 2008, 2:07 pm
  37. Those look beautiful, great job!

    Posted by Anne | April 30, 2008, 4:57 pm
  38. I love those tartlettes! Great job :)

    Posted by Natalie | May 1, 2008, 1:27 am
  39. Your tartlettes look fabulous.

    Posted by MrsBethorama | May 1, 2008, 9:00 pm
  40. I never imagined polenta for desserts either, but I tried a polenta cake with raspberry syrup sauce and vowed to recreate it. The flavor is so exotic and comforting at the same time.I like your blog–it looks like you put a lot of hard work into it. Cheers!

    Posted by Mandy | May 6, 2008, 5:17 pm

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