Rustic Polenta Cake with Ricotta and Prune Filling

By • March 15, 2010 13 Comments

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Author Notes: I like the idea of a polenta cake and it just so happens I was making Danishes the other day and filling them with a cheese and prune filling. I don't think polenta cakes are a stretch and have seen a few Italian recipes for them. I also think prunes and ricotta are a great combination. This cake is by no means sugary sweet. I call it an afternoon cake, something you might eat about 3 o'clock with a cup of expresso or Nocello, the Italian walnut liqueur.thirschfeld

Serves 8-10 slices

For the ricotta prune filling:

  • 1 1/3 cups ricotta, set in a strainer to drain
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup prunes, soft and pliable

For the polenta cake

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups stone ground cornemeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup stone ground cornmeal
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine the drained ricotta and butter and mix until blended. Add the flour, egg and sugar and mix to combine. Fold in the prunes and set aside.
  2. Place the 4 tablespoons of butter into a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl add the cornmeal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, zest and sugar. Stir with a whisk.
  4. Add the milk and egg and whisk to combine. Set aside. This allows the cornmeal to hydrate.
  5. Place the skillet with the butter in the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes. While you are waiting, in a small mixing bowl combine the remaing 1/3 cup of cornmeal, with the walnuts and butter and combine using your fingers to make a streusel.
  6. When the timer goes off remove the skillet from the oven. Remember the handle will be smoking hot. Carefully pour in the cornmeal batter, it will start cooking immediately. Using a spoon or scoop carefully drop dollops of ricotta prune mixture over the top of the cornmeal batter. Now sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top. Using a towel or oven mit, the handle is still hot, place the skillet back into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, covered with a towel, for 15 minutes. Serve with expresso or Nocello.

More Great Recipes: Cheese & Dairy|Fruit|Cakes|Snacks|Polenta

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Comments (13) Questions (0)


4 months ago Maria Ellingsworth

Ok...wouldn't make again. I agree...the prune ricotta part was the moistest and tastier part .


over 1 year ago pvanhagenlcsw

This was extremely disappointing. I so wanted to love it. I followed the recipe as written and except for the ricotta and prune custard it was very dry; it was as though there was nothing to hold it togther. Any thoughts?


almost 2 years ago Daniella Price González

do u mean the de-hydrated sticky sweet prunes or the plump fresh fruit? Can you use both?


over 3 years ago kumalavula

happened to have everything this called for in the cupboard so this was the sunday afternoon cooking adventure for the week. try something new and what do you get? something you fall in love with! nice mix of flavors and textures without being heavy on the flour like most baked desserts.
i really liked this and will make it again, maybe substituting different dried fruit?


over 5 years ago thirschfeld

Amount of baking powder it should be 1 teaspoon.


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I love the cornmeal streusel on this! (and everything else about this recipe.)


over 5 years ago ENunn

Okay, this looks amazing, I'm making it as soon as I finish my risotto recipe. Prunes are so underused!


over 5 years ago chez lady S

sounds great..


over 5 years ago shayma

loves it!


over 5 years ago dymnyno

This sounds like the kind of cake that nothern Italians like...simple. a little crumbly...not frosted , for dessert. Nocino is perfect for a little apertif. (see my recipe)


over 5 years ago thirschfeld

you can bet I was already looking at the Nocino recipe and thought the same thing.


over 5 years ago gluttonforlife

This looks great, especially for us gluten-free eaters. Can't wait to give it a try!


over 5 years ago thirschfeld

You can even take out the flour and add a yolk to thicken the ricotta.