Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TWD: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake


The TWD recipe this week was chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker. I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I mean Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake (recipe here)?

I decided to go with dried Mission Figs (mostly because there were no fresh ones to be found at the local grocery store). And I used Agave Nectar in place of honey. Full fat ricotta and regular cornmeal filled out the rest of the ingredients. Yep, the local store had nothing but yellow cornmeal.

I made the cake the night before I planned on serving. Dorie said that honey cakes get better the next day. I'm not sure, but that might have been a mistake. I had some overflow that I pulled off the baking sheet before it crisped up, and that was really delicious. And the batter was amazing. But the cake after a day was just... bland. Sweet, slightly dry cornmeal with bits of dried fig.

I'd like to try it again with a different fruit - maybe something tart. And serve it warm. You know, this is exactly why I hate to do just one run through of a recipe. I have to make something once to know what I need to tweak. But my waistline (and bank account these days) can't take baking twice a week.

But I have to say, I love this TWD thing. I'd have never chosen that recipe. Heck, I would have never bought the book without this group. It's such amazing fun to push out of my normal zone and try new things.

Don't forget to check out the other TWDers to see how they liked the recipe this week! And a big thanks to Caitlin for a wonderful pick!

Polenta and Ricotta Cake Mosaic


Sarah said...

Congrats on your cake...it looks great! And I agree...this group is great and it pushes you to try recipes that you would otherwise brush off. So fun!

April said...

Your cake looks great!

cheri said...

I made mine last night to bring to work so I guess I'll see if it is dry or not! Your cake looks great.

Jayne said...

I love TWD for the same reasons you mentioned. I'd never have tried this one (at least not in any great rush) but I'm so glad I did. Your cake - and all the photos - look great!

Lori said...

I did not even see these figs in the store and ended up using thos extremely hard figs. I did plump them though. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, after reading your post I'm glad that I ate mine straight from the oven. :)

CB said...

I bought the exact same figs! I wasn't a fan but I think a different fruit might be the ticket on this one for me too. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Hygeian Stew said...

Your cake looks delicious even if the day-after was just so/so. I love TWD for pushing me to try new things!

Anonymous said...

I have no patience. Tried mine straight from the oven and it was good but not great. It seems though that this cake either appeals to you or doesn't.

Julius said...

Everything is just gorgeous!

Love the cake.

from Occasional Baker

Heather said...

Your cake looks great! I get you about the waist line and the wallet not taking more than once a week. Both have taken a hit since joining TWD! lol

Cheryl said...

I totally agree...I never would have made this cake if not for TWD, but I'm so glad that I did!

Engineer Baker said...

I'm glad you liked it - funny that you liked it the day of, I sort of went "meh" the first day, liked it the second, and loved it the third!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I preferred the cake warm too. It is a very pretty cake, but I agreed with your assessment of the taste of it. If I ever make it again, I think I'll use apricots and sliced almonds.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job for making it, even though you wouldn't have without TWD. Looks tasty and I like your ideas for a do-over.

Cecilia said...

I love the close-up of the figs. The cake looks great.

I also think that the cake tastes best when it's warm and fresh from the oven. It doesn't taste too bad the next day, though.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I think this recipe is really tweak-able, so I hope you get the opportunity to do a redux. I used chestnut honey with really gave the cake flavor, and I'd definitely suggest trying a stronger or more aromatic honey next time.

Natalie said...

Sarah: Thanks! I've never made more than a recipe or two out of a cookbook. This is so much fun for all of it!

April: Thanks!

Cheri: Hope yours turned out wonderful! (I think I baked mine too long...)

Jayne: Exactly! I'd probably never have tried it and I'd have been seriously missing out! Thanks!

Lori: Doh! I went past these twice before I spied them out of the corner of my eye. Thanks!

LoveSweetLove: I should have done that and then punted for the dinner party :D

CB: Thanks! I'm looking forward to playing around with this when I get a spare minute lying around :) I don't know how you do this plus all the cupcakes!

Hygeian Stew: (Love the name, btw! :) Thanks! I feel like a semi-real baker with all of these things TWD pushes me into!

BakingWithTheBoys: You're probably right, but I can't give up without a small fight :) (Well that, and the batter was so darn good, I have to think there's a way to make the baked version more to my liking too.)

Julius: Thank you! And thank you for always teaching me something in your posts. :)

Heather: Thanks! (Oy with the waist line and wallet - I gotta start halving the recipes :)

Cheryl: I love trying all the different things :)

Engineer Baker: LOL I'm not giving up on it yet - stronger honey, different fruit, less baking time, fresh zest - all these things I must try!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy: Mmmm... apricots and almonds, now that's a good idea!

Gretchen Noelle: Thanks!

Cecilia: Thanks! I think I'd have loved it warm - should have done the multiple smaller cakes version :)

Mevrouw Cupcake: That's something I picked up from your post and a few others. I love stronger flavor honey, and I think it would definitely give the cake a kick. The agave nectar is tasty, but so delicate. Thank you!

Anne said...

I love the same things about TWD. I'm glad to hear it worked well with the agave nectar, maybe I'll try that next time. Great job!