When we think of Italian cuisine, most of us automatically think of pasta and pizza–and I don’t blame you. But there might be one particular food that you are forgetting: polenta. Not only is polenta part of the Italian cuisine, it’s actually a staple food in Northern Italy, where it is served in their everyday nutrition.
Polenta is most commonly cooked by boiling into a thick, creamy consistency, and trust me, it is as delicious as the next bowl of grain. But polenta isn’t just a one-trick pony, as there’s much more to this mighty cornmeal than just boiling it. Another great way to prepare polenta is to make polenta cake–which is highly versatile in its own right. You can easily customize the flavours to make it more suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert.
Two Polenta Cake Recipes You Need to Know
Easy Griddled Polenta Cake
This simply griddled polenta cake recipe is perfect for breakfast if you’re just not feeling pancakes or waffles that morning. It’s quick and easy to whip up, making it easily accessible on top of its versatility.
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup polenta
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
How to prepare:
- Add water, milk, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil before whisking in the polenta.
- Lower the heat, and continue whisking for 5 minutes until the polenta reaches a creamy consistency.
- Pour the polenta into a pan or baking dish, and allow it to cool and set.
- Once the polenta has set and firmed up, cut them into desired shapes and sizes. Add olive oil to another pan over medium heat.
- Place the cut-out polenta onto the hot pan and cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
- Top with your usual pancake and waffle toppings!
Lemon Polenta Cake
Dreaming about a light and fluffy citrusy cake to go with your aromatic cup java? This recipe is easy to make, and easy on the palate–it’s the perfect dessert for any mood and any season.
7/8 cup unsalted butter
1 cup fine sugar
2 cups almond flour (or leftover almond pulp from homemade almond milk)
3/4 polenta or fine cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 cup fine sugar for syrup
How to prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F Line a springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom, and grease the sides with butter.
- In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is nicely whipped.
- In a separate bowl, mix together almond flour, polenta, and baking powder, and slowly whisk 1/3 of the dried ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture.
- Continuously beating, add in 1 egg, then alternate with the remaining dried ingredients and eggs.
- Beat in lemon zest until it is evenly distributed before pouring the mixture into the springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
- The cake will not be as sturdy as a regular cake, and this is normal, as long as a toothpick or tester comes out cleanish.
- In a saucepan, boil lemon juice and fine sugar until dissolved.
- Poke a few holes from the top of the polenta cake and drizzle on the syrup, allowing some to seep into the cake through the holes.
- Allow the cake to cool before taking it out of the pan, and serve! As a decorative option, layer on slices of lemons and oranges to cover the entire top of surface of the cake.
Have you tried making polenta cakes? They are versatile, delicious, and easy to make. Share with us your favourite polenta cake recipes, or any of your favourite ways to prepare polenta!