Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cornmeal Ricotta Cake

One day last fall, my sister-in-law--in a conversation she probably doesn't even remember--mentioned in passing a favorite treat from her local bakery. It's only taken me like four months to finally get this thing out of my head, where it has been rattling in the ensuing time, and into my belly, where it is now sitting comfortably. As with so many other foods that I am just now discovering at the ripe old age of 27, I am left wondering: why haven't I been eating this cake all my life? It's like an Italian miracle.

What makes this thing so good? Crunchy cornmeal. Sweet and slightly tangy ricotta. It's like your favorite cornbread made little dessert babies with a cheesecake. LORD this is yummy. But it also loses freshness fast. Make it on the day you plan to serve--ahem, scarf--it, wrap leftovers tightly and store at room temperature.

As you can see, we served it with hand-whipped cream (that's right--hand whipped, thank you David) and a little bit of jam we heated in the micro.

Cornmeal Ricotta Cake
Serves 4 easily; ready just over an hour; based on this recipe from the LA Times, which includes orange zest and fresh cranberries--yum!--but not what I was going for...

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal (aka polenta)
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In one bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and powder. In another, whisk together egg, syrup, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. With electric mixer, beat butter with sugar and salt until thoroughly combined. Add half of flour mixture and beat again, just until mixed. Now, switch to a spatula because you DON'T want to overmix. Gently stir in ricotta and rest of flour mixture. Again, DON'T over mix here. Just until combined.
  3. Pour into greased 4-inch square or 5-inch round pan. Spread to cover. Bake 35-40 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool at least 20 minutes.


  1. i could make this in my sleep now (if i cooked). GIMME MORE! also, this blog rocks my face off. my sparkle-horse face.

  2. every meal. cornmeal ricotta cake. breakfast. lunch. dinner. how will i know what to cook myself if you don't tell me??