Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cherry Polenta Cake

This recipe is one I made up over lunch, sort of based off of a few other recipes. I won't be making it again quite like this (Scott actually called it my "disgusting cake") but the rest of us eating it thought it at least showed promise, given a few tweaks. I'll post the recipe as I made it here, but with the suggested changes noted to the side.

Cherry layer
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2cups cherries (I used frozen...I think this was 90% of the problem. Using smaller, tarter, *fresh* cherries would likely have fared far better.)

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant grits
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (the cake was a little dense time I'd either mix in a bit more milk to moisten it and/or perhaps 1/4 cup egg white to fluff it up some)
1/2 sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper and brush the paper with butter (or spraying with Pam works too)
Cherry layer: Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture becomes an amber caramel, about 5 minutes. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and set aside to cool.
Drop 1 cup of cherries into prepared pan
Set aside while you make the cake batter.

Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, grits, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain visible in the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining cherries over the top of the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool cake for at least an hour before removing from pan and serving. Let cool completely before slicing if you do not intend to serve the cake while slightly warm.

Other notes:
1. I think you could also do this with other fruit and have it be better possibly...apples, peaches would do well, as would small grapes and maybe raspberries (with white chocolate perhaps?) too...
2. I also think a drizzle of a light glaze might be good, since it's not an overly sweet cake. Maybe 1 cup powdered sugar + 1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla depending what fruit you're using) + a few tbsp milk, mixed up and drizzled over top.

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