Saturday, May 18, 2013

Got Herbs: Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme

Summer for most of us is almost here.  To get in the spirit of summer  I start thinking about desserts with fruit,  meat and veggies on the grill, and summer salads loaded with tomatoes and cucumbers.

I am working to get in the summer spirit.  My garden is rocking.  Fingers crossed that I can get a decent harvest of tomatoes this season.  The blueberry and blackberry farms are scheduled to open soon and if I can get my hands on good peaches this year, then my summer of food will be deemed successful.

Part of getting into the summer groove is learning that infusing herbs into desserts produces desserts that are savory and not to sweet.  This pound cake is a good example that using fresh thyme in both the  blueberries and the cake brings a simple pound cake to a new level.  The addition of polenta (cornmeal) really complements the texture of the pound cake by providing an ever so subtle chewy texture.

Go ahead and get your summer cooking groove on-

Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme
Serves 10
Recipe from Fine Cooking


For the Blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 pint blueberries, picked over
1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Pinch kosher salt

For the Cake
8-oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
6-2/3 oz. (1-2/3 cups) cake flour; more for the pan
1/3 cup polenta (cornmeal)
2 Tbs. finely chopped thyme
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


Make the Blueberries
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, thyme, and 2 Tbs. water.  Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Add the blueberries, lemon zest and salt.  Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the syrup thickens slightly and the berries are warm but most are still whole, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat 

Note: The blueberries will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 1 day; the thyme flavor will become more intense.  Reheat gently before serving.

Make the Cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter and flour 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, thyme, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix briefly to combine.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour gradually until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, then tap the pan on the counter to pop any large air bubbles.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.  ( If the top starts to get too dark, lay a piece of foil loosely over the cake) Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate or cutting board.  Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with blueberries.



sangeeta said...

Lovely. And yes I love herbs in fruit smoothies and other desserts and love how the depth of flavors gets so rich. Cornmeal is such a versatile flour, I like it in quiche base too.

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

Velva this is delicious!!! Love it

Ann Jones said...

This looks great, I love blueberries!

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

Looks delicious Velva! We are thinking along the same lines as far as food is concerned. Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to be free to blog, cook and do whatever my heart desires soon! Hope all is well in your world :)

Pam said...

I love using herbs in dessert! One of my favorite desserts is a five herb ice milk. Love this!

That Girl said...

The berries and cake makes it seem like summer already!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love savory desserts. Gorgeous cake Velva, just gorgeous with the blueberry topping.

Rambling Tart said...

I love the idea of thyme with blueberries, Velva. I've never tried it but just thinking of the combination makes me smile. :-)

Karen said...

I love the smell and flavor of thyme and the cake sounds wonderful!

Dining Alone said...

Summer is definitely here, we hit the 100 degree mark this past week! I have never had thyme in a cake before, this looks very interesting!

Claudia said...

And then you added the thyme and I swooned! We have two blueberry bushes that look - hopeful. When the hope materializes I am doing this. Bookmarked!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Oh, I love this idea! I have to try it! It will be a number of weeks before the thyme and the blueberries are ready for picking up here in the Northeast, but when it happens, I'll be ready! So glad your garden is off to a great start!

Julie said...

Oh this looks so delicious. I love blueberries and the addition of thyme sounds so interesting.

Michelle said...

I am a big fan of savory flavors, so this is a winner for me.

farmlady said...

My Italian grandma use to put polenta into her cakes. This brings back good memories.
I have copied this recipe and will try it. Thank you.
Keep your happy summer spirit.

Angie Schneider said...

I still have some polenta flour left in the pantry and this is a perfect recipe to use it up. The berry sauce looks seriously tempting.

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

I am so ready for fresh blueberries!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful cake! So delicious with those blueberries.



Chris said...

I like grilling the slices of pound or angel food cake and then topping it with fresh fruits and simple syrup.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

what? What? Why have I never heard of this before. A cake with the yummy incredible ingredient- polenta! I can just feel the texture on my tongue right now! I love it

Jane said...

Oh my goodness! Yet another way to enjoy poundcake? I'm in trouble!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I absolutely adore herbs in baked goods like this. Thus cake looks super yummy!

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