Polenta Cake With Red Grapes From Ellie Krieger

March 22, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Randi Baird
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This scrumptious cake has a rustic elegance that lets you imagine yourself in a charming farmhouse in the Tuscan wine country. Yellow cornmeal (aka polenta) gives it a delightfully distinctive grainy texture; pure olive oil makes it rich and ultra-moist; and the fresh red grapes it is studded with not only look like edible gems, the fruit tastes even sweeter and plumper once baked. Sit down and savor this cake with an espresso, a cup of tea, or even a glass of fruity wine.

Excerpted from Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet by Ellie Krieger. Copyright Ellie Krieger 2019. All rights reserved.Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (fine to medium grind)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing skillet
  • 1/2 cup mild-tasting honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 3/4 cups medium-size red seedless grapes (about 10 ounces), washed and patted dry
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Brush a 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet with olive oil. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
  2. Beat the olive oil, honey, and eggs in another medium-size bowl until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest, then add the flour mixture in three batches, stirring to incorporate after adding each batch. Stir in half of the grapes. Transfer the batter to the skillet and bake, in the middle of the oven, for 10 minutes, then scatter the remaining grapes on top of the cake and continue to bake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes more.
  3. Remove from the oven and let rest in the skillet for 10 to 15 minutes before sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and cutting into eight wedges. The cake will keep for a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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1 Review

Ahtoy May 6, 2020
I found this cake to be dry and on the sweet side. It's still a pleasant cake, and I love polenta cakes in general. I ended up toasting slices of it, which usually works to revive stale cakes, or at least turn the dryness into intentional crunchiness, and it worked for this one, too. I found a similar recipe on Fine Cooking entitled "Red Grape, Polenta & Olive Oil Cake" by Lauren Chattman (it's from her book "Cake Keeper Cakes". It is fundamentally the same recipe except it calls for AP flour, sugar, and milk. This recipe is more similar to traditional Italian polenta cakes, and Ellie Krieger probably converted it to a "healthier" whole grain/unrefined sweetener version. If, like me, you find the texture to be a bit dry, and you don't mind white flour and sugar, you may want to try Chattman's recipe. In the meantime, I will be looking for another polenta cake.