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.

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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40 Responses

  1. cheri says:

    I love your little cakes. Great idea!

  2. LyB says:

    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!

  3. Sarah says:

    I totally need to by little tartlet pans! Your cakes look great!

  4. Jayne says:

    How adorable! I love the miniature cakes – with the fluted edges, no less. Really pretty!

  5. rainbowbrown says:

    Ah, I love the minis!

  6. PheMom says:

    So, so pretty! I love your little pans. They look like they were perfect for this.

  7. Rebeca says:

    What lovely little tarts! Much more of that crunchy, crusted honey. Good idea.

  8. kim says:

    the mini cakes look so cute! i’m not sure what the butter on top really added, yours look great without it 🙂

  9. CB says:

    I totally dig your tartlet pans! Great job as always…Clara @ I♥food4thought

  10. dobetter says:

    Very interesting recipe. Love your tartlet pans. Now I want some. Beautiful photos, as always!

  11. Aran says:

    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!

  12. ostwestwind says:

    Nice tartelet pans, great pics as always.Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  13. Irene says:

    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.

  14. Irene says:

    Oh, also, I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blogroll! I love your website 🙂

  15. farida says:

    looks really good! i have never made polenta cake, and I will keep this recipe for future. thanks!

  16. Gretchen Noelle says:

    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.

  17. Dolores says:

    I’m with you… I think this one’s more than a sum of it’s parts. Great job!

  18. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    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.

  19. Hygeian Stew says:

    Your little cakes look very nice!

  20. Dana McCauley says:

    This recipe is definitely a great sounding way to get your fiber!

  21. bee says:

    that is so pretty. i would love to try a savoury version.

  22. michelle @ TNS says:

    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

  23. Heather says:

    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!

  24. steph- whisk/spoon says:

    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!

  25. Engineer Baker says:

    Awesome! I’m glad you liked it!

  26. Julius says:

    I agree. This cake is greater than the sum of its parts. :)I love your mini cakes.Juliusfrom Occasional Baker

  27. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Your cakes look so pretty, Gretchen! I especially like the little ones. Well done!

  28. Isa says:

    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 🙂

  29. Shari says:

    I love your mini tartlet pans! Great job!

  30. mimi says:

    yours looks so nice and moist. love the mini tartlets!!

  31. Caramella Mou says:

    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

  32. Liliana says:

    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.

  33. annmartina says:

    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.

  34. Lori says:

    nice job. I just loved the tartelettes. That was my size of choice.

  35. Shirlie says:

    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!

  36. Cecilia says:

    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.

  37. Anne says:

    Those look beautiful, great job!

  38. Natalie says:

    I love those tartlettes! Great job 🙂

  39. MrsBethorama says:

    Your tartlettes look fabulous.

  40. Mandy says:

    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!

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